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: 17 December 2021

A few bits of information before the weekend and the holidays.

A high pressure system has replaced the unsettled weather of the first half of December and seems to be set to stay for a while. The weather in the mountains is pleasant, with mild temperatures, especially on the sunny slopes.

The snow cover is very good for the season, at least below 3000m and at the bottom of the valley. Above 3000m, it is generally quite dry.

Most of the slopes and lifts will open tomorrow (18/12). You can find the schedule and information here. As we are at the beginning of the season, please beware of rocks off-piste!

The Loriaz, Lognan and Les Prés (les Contamines) huts also open tomorrow.

Generally conditions are good for ski touring even if the snow quality can be variable due to the effects of wind and sun.
Skinning is possible from car parks thanks to good snow cover at the bottom of the valleys.
There is some activity around les Contamines (lacs Jovets, Chasseurs, Cicle etc), on the Aiguillette des Houches, on the Argentière glacier (col des Rachasses, col du Tour Noir: the descent on the left bank of the Argentière glacier is said to be technical with some bits on ice and slabs), around le Tour (Aiguillette des Posettes), on the col des Montets (col de l'Encrenaz). No news from the Vallon de Bérard or the Bel Oiseau sector but there has probably been some activity. The opening of the Aiguilles Rouges lifts will get the ball rolling in this area.

The opening of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the mild temperatures should also allow a resumption of activity in the high mountains. The arete is said to be “narrow, steep, smooth and icy" and there is no handrail in place.
The north face of the aiguille du Midi, looks relatively dry (Mallory-Porter, Fil à Plomb: they should go but only just, see photo). There might be a bit more on the East side of the Tacul or on the North side of the Argentière basin: you'll have to go and see and let us know!
The glaciers are relatively well filled in but we remind you that we are at the start of the season and crevasse bridges are fragile. The Vallée Blanche, like the other glacier routes, is very technical at this time of year. Good experience in reading the terrain is essential.

As far as ice climbing goes, it's possible to climb on the left bank of the Argentière (as a reminder, access is only possible on skis as pedestrians are not allowed on the Plan Joran cable car).

The snowshoe and walking routes are all practicable and marked (info here). For the more independent amongst you, you can go for a walk near the chalets de Chailloux or Loriaz by the forest track (unmarked and unsecured off-piste itineraries) as long as the avalanche risk does not increase.
All the pistes of the three Nordic areas (Chamonix, Argentière, Servoz) are open. Note that in Les Houches and Servoz, the multi-activity areas (cross-country skiing/hiking/snowshoeing) are also groomed and (soon) marked out, and access to these is free!

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 8 December 2021

Winter is here! 

One storm has followed another and there is now good snow cover, even on the floor of the valley. Excellent news then: 

- The ski areas will be able to open up gradually. 

- You can go ski touring, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. 

 

On the other hand, it snowed a lot and as usual it was windy. The risk of avalanches is high. On the eve of the opening of some of the lifts, we call on you to be very careful. It is also important to follow good habits: 

- Careful preparation of the outing: read the “BERA” (avalanche bulletin) carefully, consult the weather forecast, find out about the conditions, study the route, choose your companions. 

- Once in the field: observe - analyse - discuss - decide - adapt or even give up. 

We are all keen to get out there, but we need to give ourselves time to get back into the swing of things and to get back into shape physically! 

 

Here is the schedule for the opening of the lifts in the valley: 

- Friday 10 December: Grands Montets ski area open continuously 

- Saturday 11 December: Part of the Les Houches ski area in continuous operation 

- Saturday 11 December: La Flégère ski area only for the weekend (continuous opening from 18 December). 

- Saturday 11 December: Plan de l'Aiguille cable car (second section opens on 18 December) 

- Saturday 18 December: Domaine du Brévent + Balme/Vallorcine. 

 

The ski areas are currently being prepared. The groomers are working, sometimes using a winch. Be careful with the cables and that you don’t find yourself on a slope with a snow groomer pushing the snow from above. Please respect the work of the operators!  

After a snowfall, PIDAs (Plan d'Intervention de Déclenchement des Avalanches – controlled avalanche release sometimes involving explosives) are put in place (usually in the morning, which sometimes requires delays in opening). Signs prohibiting access for the duration of the operations are put in place. For the "early bird" ski tourers, please respect these prohibitions! 

 

The marked ski touring itineraries are practicable, (except when there is a high avalanche risk; ask for information!) but they are not necessarily marked yet. You can download this little booklet which includes all the itineraries in the Mont Blanc region, while waiting for the brochure which will be available soon. 

 

Remember: 

- These marked routes, although close to the slopes, are not secured by the ski patrol. The activity is done under your own responsibility. Remember to equip yourself accordingly (avalanche transceiver/probe/shovel, phone) and to plan your outing (avalanche risk, weather, etc). 

- Although they are not opened or closed by the ski patrol, a ban on access can still be put in place at the start of the route by the commune concerned or the operating company in the event of a high avalanche risk or PIDA. 

- They are not maintained on a daily basis and their technical difficulty varies according to the conditions (icy passages, lack of snow etc.) and the amount of traffic they have had. 

- Although separate from the slopes, they are accessible only during the opening of the ski area as the descent is made via the slopes. 

- Beware of dogs running loose. 

 

For those who leave the marked routes, we ask you to be extremely careful and to choose your route carefully. 

 

 

The Nordic area opens this Saturday 11 December. 

The marked routes for snowshoes and pedestrians can be used, but they are also being marked out. You can find the map here! For those who would like to leave these routes, you will have to wait for better snow conditions. 

 

 

What about ice climbing? All this snow isn’t good for ice formation at the Crémerie. On the right and left banks of the Argentière glacier, you will have to go and see once the conditions allow it! 

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 17 November 2021

It’s still inter-season in the valley.

Ski lifts are closed except for the Flégère gondola (access to Lac Blanc and the Chéserys lakes OK but a little snow on the top and signposts not in place; Via Ferrata des Evettes OK).

You can find the opening dates of the lifts and ski areas on this page of the Mont Blanc Natural Resort website.

The snow that fell at the beginning of the month quickly melted in the “moyenne montagne”. So at the moment no skiing, but let's keep our fingers crossed! The fog has been sitting on the valley floor for the last few days but above it's much more pleasant, with nice sun and pleasant temperatures. 

You can hike (on foot!) with no worries below 2200-2300m depending on the orientation. As a reminder, a large part of the signposting is no longer in place. There may be some snow/ice and slippery paths, so it is important to be well shod.

These anti-cyclonic conditions allow for good activity in the high mountains with generally good conditions in the gullies/mixed routes. Some classic routes (Aiguille du Tour, Mont Blanc by the Goûter, Dômes de Miage...) could also be doable but we have no feedback. Snowshoes are still very useful to get around on the glaciers. Beware of snow bridges which remain fragile at this time. 

Many people on the Pélerins side (Rebuffat-Terray, Beyond Good and Evil) or in the Rebell Yell goulotte: the Plan de l'Aiguille winter hut is full every night, think of bringing a sleeping bag and even a mat.

Many people at the Albert 1er (no more wood) and on the Chardonnet. The latest news is that the Charlet-Bettembourg (the rimaye was committing because of variable snow, pitches 1 and 2 are mixed) and the Escarra are in good general conditions, but not the Aureille-Feutren. No news of the Gabarrou 79. The Aiguille du Tour normal route, Tête Blanche or Petite Fourche should be possible for those looking for an adventure!

No news yet from the Argentière basin but no doubt there must be something to do (Lagarde couloir? Ginat?).

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 3 November 2021

The first real snowy episode in our mountains this week! It even snowed at the valley floor.
 
There is a dusting on the ground from 1400m.
 
In the "moyenne montagne", there is between 20 and 30 cm depending on the sector and the altitude (20-25cm at Planpraz; 20cm at la Flégère, 25cm at Lognan; 30cm at Montenvers). The webcams of the valley can help you to get an idea (be careful with the dates of the pictures).
 
We're going to disappoint you but it's still too early to get out your skis or snowshoes!
 
On the other hand, this complicates things for hiking. It is now reserved for those with a good experience of the mountain (absence of markers...) and correctly equipped (decent boots, warm clothes, poles...). The sectors above 2000m are to be avoided for the moment in our opinion. On the other hand, low level walks such as the lower balconies or the access to the various buvettes (Floria, Chapeau, Cerro, Bérard and Dard waterfalls etc) is all fine.
 
Little information concerning the high mountains, we note about 50-60 cm at the Aiguille du Midi and there was a lot of wind.
 
Beware of the risk of avalanche (the first avalanche reports of the year are already out).

Skis or snowshoes will be useful for the approaches and it will be necessary to dig out the gullies!

 

Report translated from La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 25 October 2021

At last some information but still not enough considering the activity at the weekend! To be continued...

Thanks to all the contributors who feed the information chain.

Watch out, the glacier approaches are laborious when you have to break trail (breakable snow crust) and remain delicate (crevasses and snow bridges only just covered).

 

Albert 1er Sector

- Chardonnet: teams on the Migot - the Escarra goulotte. The normal descent route from the top of the Chardonnet and the Col Adams Reilly are tricky. Beware that there is a false track too far to the right on the way down from the summit and many climbers get lost. The Charlet-Bettembourg is tracked without more information.

- Aiguille du Tour is being done by the normal route and the SW ridge of the Table de Roc only has a bit of snow on it. The Table de Roc couloir is not very attractive: a little more patience is needed.

 

Aiguille du Midi Sector

- South face of Aiguille du Midi : you can climb the Rébuffat : 1 snow patch on the 1st pitch.
- Sightings of teams on Vent du Dragon: no information.
- Arête des Cosmiques, Lachenal traverse and traverse of the vallée Blanche are being done.
- Triangle du Tacul: Chéré couloir is in good condition (abseiling down the route) - a team has been seen on the Contamine Mazeaud.
- One track of a descent on the normal route of Tacul: ??? No info.
- East face of Tacul : A team has been seen on the Super Couloir - Valéria goulotte on the Petit Capucin: Good conditions.
- Rognon du Plan: Some people on Pas d'Agonie I: Good conditions. It looks like Pas d'Agonie II is also possible.

 

Torino Sector

- Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées: In good condition
- Tour Ronde - north face / grand Flambeau : see our route page

 

Aiguilles Rouges

The rock is dry on routes with the right aspect. Be careful with the aspect: it is autumn and the sun is "dropping" quickly in some areas, even in the south and it gets cold quickly! (Example: Frison Roche route at Le Brévent).

 

Hiking

This is the magic time of autumn! Paths with the right aspect are dry but be careful with the aspect because a covering of snow and/or ice (from about 2200m) can make some passages tricky even at medium altitude.

Equipment and markings have already been removed in many areas, so you will need to be independent in terms of navigation. Some footpaths are currently closed for work; a list of current closures is available on The Chamoniarde website.

 

 

 

Report: 21 October 2021

A beautiful end to the season allows us to enjoy the mountains. Here is some summary information about the high mountains.

The Aiguille du Midi lift reopens on Saturday 23 October until Sunday 7 November inclusive.  

There has been a lot of activity around the Albert 1er hut. The classics (Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche, Tête Blanche) are in good condition. The Chardonnet is a little dry, but some teams have done the Forbes arête and the Migot spur (rimaye ok, variable snow below the spur, reasonable ice on the mixed section, easy snow and ice on the summit slope). The rimaye below the col Adam Reilly and the crevasses on the Glacier du Tour are tricky.  

Some activity on the North face of the Grandes Jorasses without further information Linceul; Colton-MacIntyre(hard snow, top part very dry) Desmaison, Rêve Ephémère (descending via the Canzio bivi hut and a few Abalakovs below the col des Grandes Jorasses on the Chamonix side to get down on to the Mont Mallet glacier). 

Climbing is still possible at low-level around the Envers des Aiguilles (depending on today’s bad weather).  

Thanks to the opening of the Plan de l'Aiguille lift last weekend several teams have done the Rebuffat-Terray as well as Beyond Good & Evil. Conditions may have deteriorated thanks to the warm weather in the middle of the week. Beware of overcrowding.  

The North face of the Aiguille du Midi still seems dry. 

Aiguille du Midi sector: we will know more after the opening of the lift. Remember that the Cosmiques hut is closed (but the Simond bivi shelter is accessible). There may have been teams on Pas d'Agonie and in the Supercouloir probably without topping out. The goulotte Valéria on the Petit Capucin is said to be in good condition. 

Lots of activity around the Helbronner (the Skyway lift is open until 2 November as well as the Torino hut). The Marbrées traverse is being done regularly as well as the Tour Ronde and the Rebuffat couloir. The Gervasutti couloir, the North face and the normal route are also being done. The goulotte “Filo di Arianna” on Mont Maudit has been done but we don’t have any further details.   

It continues to be a beautiful finish to the season on the normal route on Mont Blanc. Remember that it's much more committing at this time of year with winter conditions (cold, fresh snow, trail breaking often needed). The ascent to the Goûter is more technical and huts and lifts are closed. Only consider it if you have lots of experience in the high mountains. 

A few teams have done the traverse of the Bionnassay. The rock section is OK but the East ridge is said to be narrow and icy. 

Lots of people around the Conscrits hut in this good weather. Be careful of crevasses in the centre of the Trè-la-Tête glacier. The traverse of the Dômes is OK.    

Finally hiking and climbing in the “moyenne montagne”. Nothing particular to report apart from magnificent autumn colours. 

The Planpraz lift opens this Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 7th November inclusive. The Montenvers train and the Plan de l'Aiguille lift are also open. Days are getting shorter so think about leaving early and giving yourself a bit of extra time.