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Report 8th January 2018

A quick update on conditions following the violent storms.

 

Most of the lifts will remain closed, (especially the Aiguille du Midi and Grands Montets) for several days, therefore limiting mountain activity.  

 

Since the large snowfalls at the end of December it has been unseasonably warm with the snow/rain limit is around 2500m. 

 

In the high mountain there have been violent winds with gusts over 200 km/h at the Aiguille du Midi; greatly affecting the snow cover.

 

The faces and gullies remain extremely dry and there is very little snow on the glaciers, especially lower down.

 

Vallée Blanche: The ridge is not equipped but the route has been skied on a few occasions.  A high level of expertise, together with excellent glacier skills are essential.
Le Pas de Chèvre: The exit is totally impractical, the moraines have no snow and are unstable.

 

Below 3000 m, there is a good snow cover but with the unseasonably high temperatures and the rain, the conditions are mediocre.  Sharp edges on your skis are recommended!

 

Ice climbing: The Cremerie is more like a site for canyoning.   On the Rive Droite, (Argentiere), it looks like the lower part of Icelander has collapsed and there is a large fracture line at the foot of Grand Bleu.

 

Ski touring: The snow is generally good for skiing in the high mountain.  At mid altitudes, the snow is less accommodating, (hard and crusty).

 

The paths along the valley floor and the marked snow shoe trails are accessible, but take care as there are sections with bare ice.  

 

More unstable weather is forecast for the next few days with wind at altitude, (the foehn has already been blowing for two days,) but without much snow.


Please do not forget to inform the OHM of your outings and conditions experienced.

Report 30th December 2017

The weather continues unsettled and frequent snowfalls are accompanied by strong winds at altitude.  Over the past 3 days there has been a significant increase to the snowpack, (one and a half metres at 2000m).  A marked warm spell is now present.

The avalanche risk is high this weekend.

Be cautious!  The conditions are unusual and difficult to analyse.  Consult BERA, (Avalanche Risk site) or the professionals and be properly equipped, (transceiver, shovel, probe as a minimum.)   If in doubt, go with a guide.   

Ski touring and snow shoeing: be aware that the weight of the snow could bring down trees.

You are reminded that access to the ski areas is forbidden other than during the official opening hours.  This is because of the activities of the piste bashers, PIDA. (purging by the avalanche patrol) etc.  This includes the lower slopes, (e.g Nants piste, Trapette).

The prepared ski touring tracks are closed for the moment, (except for the one at Les Houches.)

Report 22nd December 2017

Since the last update on the 8th of December a lot of snow has fallen, often with strong winds at mid and high altitudes.  50 to 60 cms has settled at the valley floor and over a metre at 1800/2000m.

The avalanche risk is significant above 2000m.  Consult the bulletin from B.E.R.A  (avalanche assessment) and the weather forecast before setting out.  Take care, a rise in temperatures is expected this weekend.

 

Activity in the mountains is slowly increasing, especially ski touring.
The Aiguillettes des Houches, the Posettes and the 4x4 track up to the Loriaz Chalets are tracked. (More info in the OHM route book ).  The Petit Croisse Baulet, near Megeve, has also seen some activity.
The snow is very variable, depending upon aspect and altitude, but overall the conditions are good.

 

No information for the high mountain, the second stage of the Aig du Midi lift has only just opened and the Grand Montets top lift is due to open on 23 December.  Looking at the webcams, the faces still appear to be grey and very dry.

 

Vallée Blanche: The ridge is not yet equipped, but the route has been skied, (no further information.)  Without a perfect knowledge of the area and competency in glacier travel, it is recommended to wait a while or hire a guide.

 

Concerning ice climbing, no specific information has been received though it appears that there has been a bit of activity at the Crèmerie and the Cascade de Bérard.  For the moment, Cogne could be the better option. 

 

For snow shoers, the signposted routes are accessible with sufficient snow to start from the valley floor.  

 

Do not forget to report your experiences on the Chamoniarde /OHM online route book.  It only takes a few minutes and helps fellow alpinists

 

Chamoniarde takes this opportunity to wish everybody a Happy Christmas

Report 8th December 2017

Latest update

10 cms of wet snow at the valley floor.

20 cms of wind affected snow, (strong winds from the SW,) at 2000m.

About 40cms of windblown snow at 3000m, (very strong winds from the NW/W.)

This is encouraging news for off piste skiers, ski tourers and snow shoers for the weekend.  Also, many of the   ski lifts are opening this weekend

ATTENTION :  there is a high risk of windslab avalanche  both in the mid and high mountain.  The snow conditions give rise to concern.  There is no cohesion in the underlying snow layer and more snow is expected over the next days. 

Therefore, take care.  BERA has not yet published avalanche risk figures.  Take time to use the information available to make the right assessment for your planned activity,  snow and avalanche information.

Report 27th November 2017

The snow cover is gradually deepening.

There is not much snow in the base of the valley. It is only above1800/2000m that one can really use skis or snow shoes.  The snow cover is very variable, so be careful of stones/rocks just below the surface.  Nonetheless, if you accept this limitation, there is good skiing to be had above 2000m.

Concerning the high mountain, Chamoniarde has not received any information.  The Skyway Monte Bianco (Italy) opens 1st December and the Torino refuge on the 2nd.  Hopefully, information on conditions will follow soon after.

There has been some ice climbing at the Crèmerie (true left bank of the Argentière glacier.) No further information.  Please remember that access to this area is by foot from the Grands Montets car parking. The Rosière road is restricted to clients of CMBH and the Crémerie restaurant.

The Company du Mont Blanc has announced limited opening this weekend at Lognan and Les Houches.

Report 21st November 2017

There is still not much snow in the mountains for the time of year, though things should improve from this weekend onwards. 

 

There has been very little activity reported from the higher mountains and the information received indicates a great variation in conditions from one sector to another. There have been strong winds at altitude, stripping the snow in some areas and dumping it in others

 

On north facing slopes above 2000m one risk floundering in deep snow even with snow shoes, while on the south faces the snow is variable, bare in some places and knee deep elsewhere.  Some paths, even at lower altitudes, maybe iced over in places.  Whatever the activity, the current, difficult conditions require the correct equipment.

 

It is still too early to ski tour in the Chamonix valley, have patience.