The snow falls and high winds the weekend before and the early part of last week curtailed activities at altitude for a few days.
The Albert 1 and Argentière huts are now closed until the summer season, as well as all the lifts at Grand Montees. Some routes are still in good condition in the Argentiere basin, leading to some overcrowding of the winter room.
No news about the Couturier but there has been activity on the Austrian route and the NNE of the Courtes. The Swiss route also appears to be OK. The wind at the start of last week has made conditions difficult, (iced,) in the upper parts of the routes.
Couvercle sector: the Pointe Isabelle is tracked with hard, windblown snow in the upper part.
Col des Droites also tracked. The Whymper has been climbed, (some ice pitches.) The approach to the hut is still best done by the “central couloir”, but it is starting to get thin. The N face of the Grandes Jorasses looks very dry.
Cosmiques sector: the Pointes Lachenal traverse and the Cosmiques Arete are tracked. The 3 Monts route up Mont Blanc has been tracked since Thursday on hard, windblown snow with patches of ice at the Col du Mont Maudit and towards the Brenva col.
The Chéré, Modica-Noury, Gabarrou-Albinoni, Pinocchio and Valéria, have been climbed. Conditions are dry but OK.
Several parties have climbed the Tour Ronde N face, no further information. The Normal route, (skis off for 20m in the middle,) and the Gervasutti couloir are also tracked.
The SW couloir of the Aiguilles du Diable has been done.
Vent du Dragon (Aig du Midi) was climbed in very dry conditions.
Grands Mulets: Mont Blanc tracked by the Plateaus and the N ridge of the Dôme.
Plan Glacier: Mettrier ridge “intégrale” was climbed in OK conditions, though the upper part was “dry”. The N face of the Dômes de Miage looks like bare ice.
Conscrits: Dômes de Miage traverse is generally in good condition. Descent by the Armancette is tracked but the snow is unpleasant to ski. Skis off about 15 mins above the lake. Better conditions for a “there and back” trip on the Tré la Tête glacier. Parties have climbed the Aiguille de Tré la Tête, to the Col des Glaciers and Mont Tondu.
Lex Blanche was done in OK conditions by the summer route. Descent barely skiable on very variable snow.
Mont Buet tracked all the way on good snow. Skis on/off 10 mins above the Cascade de Bérard. up and down following the true right bank. The road up to Emosson is open and people have been ski touring there, (Bel Oiseau and Cheval Blanc.)
Concerning hiking, things have not changed much with snow causing problems above 1800m. It will still be a long time before the classic summer trails, (Grand Balcons, Lac Blanc etc.) are practicable. The footpaths at the valley floor are fine, as well as walks like the Floria, Le Chapeau or the Mottets, where the tea shack was open this weekend. If you want to visit a lake then the Lac Vert, with its beautiful views, is to be recommended, (above Servoz). The Merlet footbridge is now open so it can be approached from Montquarts.