The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report from La Chamoniarde to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 


Report: 15 February 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 15 February 2024.

A very mild start to the half-term holidays. There was a little snow last weekend (especially at higher altitudes) but some real snowfall would be welcome!

The snow cover remains good above 1800m, but below that it’s poor!

So there's plenty of snow in the ski areas (except on the way back to the resort). At this time of year, we would like to remind you more than ever to ski with caution, moderating your speed and controlling your skis and your direction! Just a reminder: it is strictly forbidden to skin up the slopes.

Ski Touring

All the classic ski touring routes are popular (always keep your ski crampons close by). The light snowfalls on Sunday and Monday have eased conditions a little. Departures and returns without lifts remain very dry: skis on at the bridge on the Roman road at Les Contamines, at 1650m below the Loriaz refuge; the bottom of the Buet valley is still very sporty (little snow, avalanche debris to cross).

Nothing special to report as far as glaciers go either. The boardercross at the bottom of the Col du Passon is no problem for good skiers (one stream to cross). The Col du Chardonnet is easy to cross (NE-facing couloir snowy, rimaye filled with snow). Vallée Blanche/Brèche Puiseux sector (good general conditions): you can ski to the new Mer de Glace cable car (last ascent to Montenvers at 4pm!)

All the variants of the vallée blanche have been done. The salle à manger is fine but there are a few visible holes at the entrance and exit. The Pierre à Béranger and the central couloir (access to the Talèfre basin) look OK.


The snowfall at altitude (30-40 cm at the Aiguille du Midi) put a slight halt to the gully activity (while it purged and cleaned up) but didn't change the conditions much either. On the whole, it's dry (often quite dry and more technical than the ratings given in the guidebooks), although there's still plenty to climb in some areas (we have had no feedback since the start of the week and the snow): Pointe du Domino (Petit Viking); Triangle de la Verte (Ravanel-Frendo + Claire Chazal fairly dry, La Pépite in quite good conditions); Mini Blast still a victim of its success, cornice at the top of Rebuffat-Terray purged; E face of Tacul (Gabarrou-Albinoni, Modica-Noury, Supercouloir, Lafaille.); Requin sector (Sorenson-Eastman: initial section difficult to protect, moraine tricky, Ice is Nice: lots of threatening snow).

The ice climbing season didn't really happen this year. No feedback, but still a bit of activity on the left bank of the Argentière glacier (Déferlante, Mini Couloir; it's over for EMHM) and at Cogne.


Given the low snowfall at low altitude, there is exceptional hiking just about everywhere below 1600m. Higher up, it's not possible to do anything other than follow the signposted snowshoe trails or the Chalets de Chailloux (from La Flatière) or the Chalets de Loriaz! You can't get to Montenvers on foot or via the Plan de l'Aiguille!



Translated with kind 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.




Report: 1 February 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 1 February 2024.

As far as ski touring is concerned, not much has changed since last week's report (carrying skis, unpleasant Bérard valley, etc.).

It hasn't snowed again and the snow is generally hard, even bullet hard at certain altitudes, aspects and times of the day. Aim for slopes that will have softened a bit (this depends on the temperature, wind and cloud cover).

Generally speaking, it's 'best' at altitude on slopes that don't get too much sun (above 2500m) with cold snow and a good grip.

Once again, we urge you to be careful and not to forget your couteaux and boot crampons to avoid falls and sliding.


On the other hand, there has been some good gully activity despite rather dry conditions (or the new "normal"). Here's some feedback (many thanks to those who filled in our cahier de course), which is tricky because it always risks increasing the risk of overcrowding: if one or more roped parties are already involved in a gully, it's better to go for plan B, "choice involves giving something up!"

Beware also of the weather and the NW wind at altitude.


Argentière glacier :

The Passon, Chardonnet, Tour Noir and Argentière cols are getting regular traffic. The bottom of the Passon has not improved, nor has the gully above Les Pétoudes (the latter should be avoided).

The couloir en Y on the Aiguille d'Argentière is probably OK. The rimaye on the Glacier du Milieu is filled in, so it’s easy. The narrow section is very dry (descent in 3 abseils of 20m, belays on flakes/spikes which need to be checked, newish tat) then a little snow above until the col (ice but which can be avoided, therefore preferable to leave the skis at the bottom of the gully). Looks like ice between the col and the summit.

One team baled at the rimaye of Petit Viking, a "big glide crack with loose snow". The rest of the route is in good condition by eye.

Looking at it, the top of the NE face of Les Courtes is too dry to ski.

The Lagarde couloir was climbed last weekend in good conditions.

Some teams seen on the Ravanel-Frendo, but no further information.

Claire Chazal (Pointe Farrar): the rimaye can be crossed 100m to the right of the gullly. Fairly good conditions (just the right amount of ice, mixed sections are protectable) except for the dièdre which is dry and hard.

Still plenty of activity on the modern routes on the Aiguille de Bochard.


Plan de l'Aiguille

Still a lot of teams on Mini Blast, still a cornice at the top of Rébuffat-Terray.

Still a few teams on "Nouvelle Génération" but it's the end (mixed passage on pitch 1 and a 75 m pitch very difficult to protect + last two pitches after the dry traverse). The belays have been reinforced.

The belays on Cécile and la Mésange (Peigne) have been re-equipped so that you can abseil down them (60m). On the whole an easy gully on squeaky snow/ice that is quite difficult to protect (1 to 3 points per pitch) + a dry pitch in the middle with some very tricky moves that can be easily protected.

Fil à Plomb doesnt look doable: numerous dry passages (exposed slabs) above the key pitches.

On the face of it, the Mallory could be an option, but the quality of the snow is a big unknown (often loose sugar snow at these altitudes and orientations at the moment).


Glacier du Géant area

The Cosmiques arete and the Marbrées traverse are in good condition and accessible on foot.

One team turned back on the Cosmiques icefall (more water than ice).

Triangle du Tacul as dry as ever.

Goulotte Pellissier fairly dry.

Numerous teams on the Gabarrou-Albinoni: good conditions, fairly well filled (pitches 1 and 2 a bit thinner). There is a lack of bolted belays (summer rockfalls) and sometimes a bit of moving together is needed. Modica-Noury has plenty of ice.

Good conditions (direct start via mixed pitches, then a relatively well-filled gully) on the Supercouloir, but obviously a lot of people.

Goulotte Lafaille in good conditions.

Valeria gully: the approach under the serac (which looks threatening) is "scary" (recent ice fall). Goulotte "pretty dry but it's done".

One team turned back at the Ratoune rimaye ten days ago (no ice, sugar snow).

Requin sector: fairly good conditions in Ice is Nice (last pitch dry, abseils re-equipped at 60m) and in Eastman-Sorenson.

Few changes to the skiing in the sector (Vallée Blanche, Col d'Entrêves, Brèche Puiseux busy).

Couvercle sector: access and descent OK via the central couloir. The Whymper on the Verte can be considered (alpine conditions).



Translated with kind 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.




Report: 27 January 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 27 January 2024.

Here's some news as we approach a period of high pressure!
The snow cover is exceptional above 1800m, but below that it's terrible. There was a bit of snow in places last night at high altitude (Argentière glacier, Vallée Blanche).
The classic ski touring routes are popular. Don't forget your couteaux/harscheisen, as the snow is often hard on all aspects (you need to be a good skier). Also beware of the risk of falls/slides both off and on piste. You will be walking/ carrying skis until you leave the woods if you don't start from a ski lift (Roman road in les Contamines, Plaine Joux, la Flatière, le Buet/Couteray, Finhaut).
The Bérard valley has thin snow cover and has also been devastated by avalanches, so it's not very pleasant! The same goes for the Passon descent towards Le Tour. A large avalanche has gone down the Pétoudes gully (Trient), which should be avoided for the time being!
Bullet hard sections on the descent of the Brévent/Cornu towards the Pont d'Arlevé.
The three Cols is in good condition (apart from the bottom of the Passon, see above). The descent couloir on the N side of the Col du Chardonnet is well filled in.
The Vallée Blanche is being done every day. The Aiguille du Midi arête is equipped (Z not in place). Glaciers generally well filled. The bottom of the Vallée Noire is very icy. The Requin refuge opened its doors on Saturday 27 January. 
You can ski as far as the old staircase. The cable car is due to open soon, so keep your fingers crossed. In the meantime, head back up to Montenvers via the old stairs and the path. The descent to Chamonix is out of the question (the bottom of the glacier is chaotic). No news of the Brèche Puiseux but it should go: expect 2 abseils of 30m + exit to the right under the Grandes Jorasses at the bottom of the Mont Mallet glacier and not via the couloir).
Gully climbing is back on the agenda. No news from the Argentière basin. The Couturier looks very icy.
Some teams on Mini-Blast (good conditions) and Rebuffat-Terray: fairly dry conditions + beware there's a big cornice at the brèche overlooking the whole route... Some teams also on Beyond Good and Evil but it's very dry.
A few climbers on the Chéré but it’s pretty dry, especially the first slope below the start. You can climb the Modica-Noury and the Gabarrou-Albinoni but beware of (over)crowding. It might be worth looking a little further afield, even if it's generally dry and we have no information (Supercouloir, Lafaille, Valeria, Ice is Nice; Pellissier: dry).
It won't be a winter to remember for ice climbing. The hot weather finished off the few routes that existed, particularly around Cogne. A few ice climbs are still possible on the rive gauche of the Argentière glacier.

Translated with kind 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.




Report: 13 January 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 13 January 2024.

Get ready to ski! Here's a brief report on the conditions.
If you want to get away from the grey plains, conditions here are great with cold temperatures, anticyclonic conditions and fresh snow above 1800m.
On the whole, the snow is still soft and pleasant to ski in (apart from the areas affected by the wind), but it is starting to get a little wetter on the southern slopes.

Ski Touring
All the Aiguilles Rouges classics have been tracked (Crochues-Bérard, Pointe Alphonse Favre, Buet, Col des Dards, Col du Belvédère, Col de Beugeant). The Berard valley exit is much improved (skis off once or twice).
Lots of activity around Bel Oiseau - Fenestral (short ski carry at the start).
In the Argentière basin, lots of activity on the Col du Passon (you can ski down to Le Tour) despite a few potholes. Col du Tour Noir, Col d'Argentière also possible. All the Grands Montets lifts are shut today (Saturday 13th) because of a technical problem.
Valley Ice Climbing
In the Chamonix valley, you can climb on the rive gauche of the Argentière glacier in the "Dents de la Mer" sector (Déferlante, Minicouloir, Home wet Home). On the rive droite, the Mur des Jumelles looks doable (not yet checked).
The Bérard icefall is not yet accessible.
Outside the Chamonix valley, the ice at Le Reposoir, Samoens/Giffre has not yet formed. Cogne is the spot of the moment with an interesting choice of lines.
Ice and Mixed
Teams on Mini Blast, Rebuffat Terray, Tout Schuss. No recent news from the East face of the Tacul. The Cosmiques arête has been tracked in winter conditions. The lines behind the Requin look like they are building up. We look forward to feedback if you go up there.
Gourmet Randonneurs: The Chalet du Chapeau is open every day except on category 3 and above days (check the avalanche forecast). Snowshoes are not necessary, but a pair of crampons will make progress more comfortable, especially on the descent.
Remember that the Loriaz refuge is also open (booking required).

Translated with kind 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.




Report: 5 January 2024

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 5 January 2024.

Happy New Year everyone!

We've had a bit of everything over the Christmas holidays: snow, rain, wind, sun, foehn… There was even more on the menu than at Grandma's at Christmas!
Snow cover remains fairly thin below 1800m, but substantial at higher altitudes. Watch out for the snow conditions, especially with the wind blowing in just about every direction. In 2024, more than ever, the BERA (avalanche forecast) is your friend!
Most of the classic ski touring areas are being visited. It's sketchy at the bottom of the Vallon de Bérard and the Col du Passon on the le Tour side (poor snow cover, likely to improve with the snow fall forecast for this weekend) and you need to be a good skier.
The “climbers" version of the Vallée Blanche is also in decent condition: the Aiguille du Midi arête is not yet equipped (therefore crampon skills are essential) and you have to make your own way back up to Montenvers until the new cable car is open.
The Brèche Puiseux was climbed last week: lots of snow, plan 2x30m for abseiling, head well to the right to exit the Mont Mallet glacier (the couloirs on the left are not in good condition!)
In the Argentière basin, there are lots of people on the cols (Passon, Chardonnet, Tour Noir), often there and back. The Aiguille d'Argentière was skied via the Glacier du Milieu (fairly well filled in glacier, a mixed pitch to get up the narrows and 15m of abseiling on the descent) and via the Y couloir (10m step to cross the rimaye, 40m abseil on descent, spring conditions in the couloir).
Conditions for these high-altitude routes are likely to change as temperatures drop and snow and wind arrive!  
For fans of snow, ice and mixed terrain, it looks like the season is about to get under way with the cold snap expected later this week. For the moment, only the Déferlante sector on the left bank of Argentière is offering decent conditions (watch out for overcrowding!)
Gullies: Chéré couloir on the Tacul was climbed in very dry conditions. Several teams on Petit Viking (complicated rimaye with 40m of M5 on the right, then OK conditions) and Charlet-Ghilini. Mini Blast, Rébuffat-Terray and M6 Solar were also climbed without further information.
For our friends the snowshoers and other winter walkers, the valley's signposted routes are all open! More information on the dedicated page on La Chamoniarde.

Translated with kind 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.


Report: 22 December 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 22 December 2023
A few bits and pieces of information before the holidays start!

Lifts opening up tomorrow:
  • The Aiguille du Midi
  • The Le Tour ski area (road reopened)
  • Les Houches ski area

The snow cover is good above 1800 m but quite poor below that. It snowed at altitude (above 1700m) last night (around 20cm at 1800 m, more above). The wind has been working hard (moving snow around), so beware of the risk of avalanches (remember the avalanche report is there to be read!).
The Aiguille du Midi arête is not equipped.
The Montenvers/Mer de glace access regulations were amended today. Access via the lower station of the old gondola (path + stairs) is once again possible until the opening of the new gondola, but is no longer maintained and requires the use of mountaineering equipment. You can also go up by the new “ferrata" route. Otherwise, you'll have to call Father Christmas and his sledge :)
There's not much snow in the Bérard valley, so you'll need to be a good skier (see the report in our cahier de course on the website).
The cascade season is starting tentatively either on the rive gauche (Déferlante) or at Cogne (not well formed).
Good weather is forecast for the start of the holidays, so we look forward to hearing from you!

Translated with kind 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.