La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 15 April 2023
A beautiful finish to the season (we are talking about mountain conditions!)
The episodes of good weather and poor weather continue to come and go. The snow cover keeps improving above 2,000m, and this is certainly a help to the glaciers and the faces at high altitude!
Generally speaking, we have had some good skiing lately. All the classic routes are possible. However, beware of the risk of avalanche which is, and will remain, present.
On the other hand, the good weather slots have been a bit short to engage in technical mountaineering (too much snow). Good conditions also in the Aiguilles Rouges massif.
The Flégère and Brévent lifts (except for the Planpraz TC, the Parsa chairlift and the Altitude 2000 TK which are extended until 23 April) are closing this Sunday. You can ski down to just above the Bérard buvette. More portage to get to Loriaz (refuge closed). A bit of portage from the Col de la Forclaz for the Pointe Ronde but good conditions too.
The Balme/Vallorcine ski area is also closing this Sunday.
On the Grands Montets (lifts open until 1 May), a "road" is being tracked by a piste machine (it will allow a digger to go up to the top of the pistes in order to start work as soon as the ski area is closed) at the level of the old Point de Vue piste (on the Argentière glacier side of the Col des Rachasses). So be careful in case of bad visibility!
Still good conditions on the Vallée Blanche. Beware of falling seracs in the combe below the Requin hut, don't hang around. You can ski down not far from the grotto.
No or little activity for the moment on the Trois Monts route. It's loaded with snow and we'll have to wait for a longer window for it to stabilise. The normal route on the Tacul was, however, tracked last weekend (not an easy route, especially to get out at the top, quite exposed to seracs from bottom to top). One team even went as far as the col du Mont Maudit without any further information.
The ascent of Mont Blanc from the Grands Mulets hut started with a bang. As announced in our last update, the Jonction can be crossed quite well, the route by the Plateaux is in good condition (glaciers filled in) but the seracs remain. This was well shown by the huge serac fall that swept across the whole of the Petit Plateau and the track on Monday morning, with miraculously no one there at the time. The N ridge of the Dôme was tracked by the left side of the ridge to avoid the ice (5m of ice on the exit). It is certainly longer and more technical but "safety has a price". The summit has beeen reached by the Corridor route (again, a serac fall was reported) and via the Bosses ridge (no precise information but it did not pose any problems for the climbers). The N face has been skied (hard snow at the top). A reminder to all aspiring skiers: Mont Blanc is a serious route and you need to be "strong": it is long and high, the objective risks are important (crevasses, seracs...), it is cold: you need to be physically and psychologically prepared!
Snowshoeing is over! For hiking, there haven’t been any developments given the snowfall (see dedicated news).
When the weather is good, we can climb on the lower valley crags!
Because of nesting in progress, it is requested not to climb in the sector "Dièdre Frendo" and "la raflée” on Gaillands until the end of May (exact end date to be specified).
The Curalla via ferrata (Passy) is open!
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.