This prolonged period of unstable weather is frustrating…
With the recent strong, mostly foehn winds and the Spring temperatures, it is necessary to be particularly careful over the next few days!
The latest information:
- Conscrits: Last weekend ski tourers were active on the Dômes de Miage, Mont Tondu, Bérangère and the Col des Glacier. The Dômes ridge was exposed and corniced, some parties preferring to descend on the Tré la Tête side. The descent by the Armancette was in good condition. Be careful not to be too late in the day, especially for crossing the Mauvais Pas!
- Cosmiques/Requin: The gullies are still not in good condition however, the Chéré, M6 Solar, Pas d'Agonie 1 + 3 and Sorenson Eastman have been climbed. The routes are generally more technical than normal, requiring short ice screws and rock protection.
There is still enough snow to ski the Valley Blanche. However, for the last 3 days the Aig du Midi lift has been closed due to strong winds and the conditions are unknown. The snow is likely to have been very affected by the wind. The descent back to Chamonix via Les Mottets remains possible, though walking is necessary in several places.
- Le Couvercle: The way up to the hut is in good condition, but there has not been much activity above due to the bad weather. Some parties have gone to the bergschrund on the Whymper and towards Pointe Isabelle and more recently to the Col de Talèfre, Angélique Couloir and to the Brèche des Droites. Avoid being late in the day and be aware of deep snow in places.
- Argentière: The main activity remains ski touring though some attempts have been made on the gullies. Conditions reported OK for the Ravanel-Frendo, but bad conditions reported for the Claire Chazal. The Petit Viking was very technical, (thin, black ice). A party retreated from the Couturier last weekend; too dry and with a lot of bare ice.
Ski crampons are recommended, (essential?) for the Col du Chardonnet.
- Mont Blanc: The Grands Mulets hut is open and guarded; remember to contact the warden to make a reservation and get the latest information on conditions. The summit was reached by the Plateaux route last weekend, no further information.
- Aiguilles Rouges: the Flégère has been closed for several days so no information from this sector. The col de Bérard was tracked this morning (12/4) from the Buet village. Generally good conditions with several centimetres of fresh snow at the col. The Loriaz hut is closed for the moment.
- Hiking / Snow shoeing: It is still possible to do some snow shoeing at Bérard, Loriaz ,Chailloux and Prarion.
There is still a lot of snow at altitude with about 2 metres, (more in places,) at 2000m.
At the risk of repetition, it is far too early to hike along the trails above 1400m. Conditions are going to remain awkward for a long time this Spring, especially in certain sectors.
Do not expect to be able to walk the Grands Balcons north and south, or the paths leading up to the mountain lakes during the Spring holidays or the May bank holiday weekends.
Whatever the activity, care is needed. Warm, Spring temperatures are foreseen and the avalanche risk, which remains important, is evolving during the day. Early starts essential to avoid being caught out. Frequent slab avalanches down to ground level have been observed. This is the case at Charamillon, where the ski touring route is currently closed.