La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 17 May 2023

What can we say...

Certainly beautiful weather for the mountains and the rivers, but difficult for actually getting out in the mountains! “Capricieuse” and unpredictable weather in this month of May. We could say go south and climb, in Finale, in Sardinia or to go to Lourdes but it's not much better there! Weather windows have been rare.

On the positive side, it's snowing high up. Faces, couloirs and glaciers continue to get healthier before the summer. Skis and snowshoes are essential to get around in the mountains.

There has been very little activity in the mountains in recent weeks. So here are a few brief news items:

  • The road to the Emosson dam will be open from this Wednesday evening.
  • A few people have been up to the Albert 1er refuge. Up the moraine path, snow at the water intake at about 2,000m. Then a good trail on foot to the refuge. There are no tracks beyond that point, so you'll need skis or snowshoes to get around.
  • As the work has progressed faster than expected, the decree which regulated access to the Argentière basin has been repealed.
  • The Mer de Glace gondola and grotto are closed until 2 June.
  • The Couvercle refuge is open, but access is rather complicated. Contact the guardian who should have a bit more information today!
  • The Aiguille du Midi cable car is open, as is the Cosmiques refuge. The Skyway will reopen on 26 May. The arête is now completely unequipped. Climbing teams have been to the Pointes Lachenal, Contamine-Negri, Chéré, Voie Nomale on the Tacul (beware of avalanche risk), Cosmiques Arête. The approaches have been tracked. For the Trois Monts, waiting for a suitable weather window. The traverse between the Col du Mont Maudit and the Col de la Brenva will be on ice (to be confirmed).
  • The Grands Mulets refuge is also still open (25 cm of snow between yesterday and tonight). Access is fine (skirt the Pélerins glacier and the Jonction low down). An attempt via the Goûter N ridge led to the summit last Saturday, a great way to optimise the time slot!
  • The huts on the normal route of Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter have again postponed their opening dates (Tête Rousse on Friday 26 May; Goûter on Saturday 27 May) due to the weather conditions and the heavy snow cover.
  • The Plan Glacier hut opens tomorrow until Sunday 21 May, then from 26 to 29 May and finally 7 days a week from 3 June. Trainers up to the second moraine.
  • The Conscrits hut (30cm of fresh snow over the last 24 hours) is also open. The snow starts just after the Mauvais Pas. Mont Tondu and the N faces of Tré la Tête look good. On the descent by the Armancette glacier, skis off at around 2,000m.

As far as hiking goes, the snow is slowly but surely receding! No big change then. Many of the high altitude hikes, as well as treks lasting several days, are not yet possible. We regularly update the practicable hikes in our dedicated news.



Translated with permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.