La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 27 January 2023
As we said in the last update, the snowfalls of the last week have allowed ski touring to really get going. It's a pity that the wind spoiled the quality of the snow in the most exposed places but the skiability remains generally very good.
All the classic routes in the Aiguilles Rouges have been done.
Couloir de la Chorde OK near the Pointe Noire de Pormenaz.
Aiguillette des Houches: you can skin from le Bettey, the Combe de la Vogealle is seeing a lot of traffic.
Be careful at the bottom of the combe du Pouce: somebody went through a snow bridge above the stream in the gorge (there is still a lot of water in the streams at the moment). Variant on the left bank in the alder bushes “varosses" for those who know it (exposed).
There are some “rimayes" between which it is necessary to navigate at the foot of the steep slope on the N side of the Col Belvedere (see cahier de course).
No fixed rope at the top of the Col de Beugeant. A new belay has been installed for those who are not comfortable (40m descent).
Trè les Eaux: stay on the right bank of the gorge (short ascent, a small 1m jump, then a short 15m abseil, but “not scary"). Then the snow cover is good in the woods to get back to Les Granges.
You can skin from Le Buet/Couteray. As a reminder, there is now a charge for parking at Le Buet: one more reason to take the train!
There is also plenty of activity around the Bel Oiseau and the Col de la Forclaz, Pointe Ronde, Croix de Prélaye).
The glaciers have had a good whitewash! The summer took its toll and some are still very chaotic. We are still at the beginning of the season and the snow bridges can be fragile.
Activity on the glacier des Grands, Passon, Col du Tour Noir, Col du Chardonnet. No information about the Trois Cols.
There is a lot of activity in the Vallée Blanche (only for good skiers). The arête is equipped (stakes, fixed ropes on each side) but not the kink half way down. Crampons are therefore recommended. It is always better to stay on the classic route or the slopes of the Rognon (less crevassed). The wind has been blowing but it's still pleasant to ski (soft sastrugi, better snow in the sheltered parts). The salle a manger is fine and then you can swoosh gently to Montenvers. Be careful not to fall asleep on the Mer de Glace, the track passes 1m from “moulins” (deep holes). A fall there last week miraculously ended not too badly. The most resourceful who don't have new skis can always do the "integral" by descending to the buvette at les Mottets (lots of ski scraping on the glacier).
In strong winds, the gondola may be closed. In this case you have to go back up on foot by the stairs and then follow the diversions set up because of the closure of the classic path linked to the work on the new lift which has become dangerous.
The Pas de Chèvre exit couloir was disfigured by the hot summer. We can only advise against it at the moment until it is better covered with snow.
Gully activity was quite reduced because of the cold and the wind but it's starting again. We have very little information since 10 January except good conditions in the Pellissier gully (cahier de course) and in the Gabarrou-Albinoni ("not too deep snow at the bottom, firm nevé + ice at the top"). Mini Blast ok too (one of the abseils is a bit more than 60m). Teams have done Petit Viking, Modica-Noury, Lafaille without more info.
The return of the cold weather allows a nice resumption of the ice climbing activity. We can now find something to fiddle around on at the Crémerie.
Bérard: some lines can be climbed, remember to book your slots on the Compagnie des Guides website.
There is climbing around Trient (Pétoudes), Loriaz, Rive Droite (from the mur des Jumelles to the Frénésie, Icelander perhaps OK) and Rive Gauche (Mur des Dents de la mer, EMHM) off the Argentière glacier, Les Houches (Bellevue waterfall, Sainte-Marie viaduct), Notre Dame de la Gorge (Ruisseling), Cascade Armancette, Stassaz...
There is snowshoeing on the marked routes or around Loriaz/Chalets de Chailloux.
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.