MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 04/012019
The period of high pressure continues, meaning the conditions have not improved since the last update.
The snow remains very hard (concrete), both on the piste and beyond.
Ski touring continues in the same sectors : Bel Oiseau and Loriaz (some walking), Mont Buet/ Col de Bérard (thin snow cover and patchy lower in the valley), Aiguillette des Posettes via Ardoisières, from the Index/Flégère (Crochues-Bérard, Col des Dards, Col du Bélvédère, Col de Beugeant), Lacs Noirs et Aiguille de la Glière from Cornu, Aiguillette des Houches from the Brévent, Argentière sector (via Grands-Montets,) Col du Passon there and back, Col du Chardonnet, Col du Tour Noir, Col d'Argentière).
Though the above routes are not very technical, even the easiest amongst them are not currently suitable for beginners because of the difficult snow conditions, (risk of falling both in ascent and descent). Good technique, sharp edges and ski crampons are essential.
Of the signposted ski touring routes, only the one at La Tour is in reasonable condition (and even this requires ski crampons.)
Conditions for snow shoeing are not favourable, (poor snow cover, hard snow.) Nonetheless, it is possible to go up to the Loriaz chalets or do a loop at the Prarion summit. Most of the paths signposted by the Compagnie du Mont Blanc are open: Aiguillette des Posettes from the Vallorcine ski bubbles and the Autannes loop (Balme domain,) Index loop and the Raverettaz (Flégère domain.).
Hiking is possible in the valley up to about 1500m, (Petit Balcon sud, the Floria, cabane du Cerro. The paths have hard snow or ice, (good boots, hiking poles and small crampons necessary.) It is possible to venture as far as Chapeau buvette, the Loriaz chalets, (both open), or the Chailloux chalets.
Conditions for ice climbing have improved these last few days thanks to the cold spell. No precise details, but there are possibilities at Trient, (Odeyi, les Pétoudes), Argentière (Crèmerie, Left and right banks): Risk of overcrowding. The Loriaz and Picheu icefalls look to be formed.
In the high mountain, activity is limited to the Marbrées traverse and Cosmiques Ridge, (possible to avoid last summer’s rock fall area by going directly up the gully to the right of the Cosmiques Spur,) There are some other possibilities e.g. Chéré, Burnier Vogler, Pélissier, though these are very dry.
There is more precise information in the Chamoniarde Route Book.