Some information for the weekend!
The Argentière and Cosmiques huts open this weekend. The Requin, Torino, Loriaz and Lognan huts are already open.
The recent snowfalls have improved ski conditions. There are still some ice plates or hard snow, notably on the moguls or convex slopes, (drop offs). In general conditions are reported to be good, even if some areas are wind affected. It was warm on Thursday and the snow on the slopes receiving the sun is being transformed, (could be crusty).
Most of the classic ski tours should be feasible this weekend, plus the forecast is for good weather.
At mid altitudes: for example, Crochue-Bérard traverse, Cols des Dards and Bélvédere, (there and back), Col de Beugeant, Mont Buet, Col de l'Encrenaz from the Col des Montets, Col de la Terrasse, the Bel Oiseau / Fenestral sector, (some walking low down), Contamines sector: Col de la Cicle / Jovets lakes, (roman road icy, crampons useful).
On glaciers: Helbronner sector (the Marbrées, Toula glacier, col and shoulder of the Entrèves, Brenva glacier were done on Thursday 20/02), Brèche Puiseux, Argentière sector (Col des Grands Montets, Col du Passon, Col du Chardonnet + 3 cols. N.B. the glacier du Milieu is very dry and not recommended. Col du Tour Noir, Col d'Argentière), descents towards Trient (this sector has been affected by the wind, it is only just possible to get to the parking on skis.)
All the Valley Blanche variations were skied on Friday 21/02, (good snow, in the process of being transformed,). The Salle à Manger passes reasonably well. There are still some plates of icy snow on the Vallée Noire, but it is OK.
There is a lack of snow in the lower part, but the last two snowfalls have made it possible, (for the moment,) to ski within 50m of the ice cave without too much bare ice or rocks. After the Salle à Manger it is best to keep to the true right bank until the junction with the Leschaux glacier.
During this holiday period the lifts, (Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers train) are very busy. Think about reserving a “benne”, (Aig du Midi) and having spare time at the end of the day.
Some information on the "couloirs", (the conditions can change rapidly.)
- Cosmiques couloir and Rond glacier: very hard snow at the top, walking foreseen from below the ancient Para station or the Combe des Glaciers.
- Gervasutti couloir on the Tour Ronde is skiable but better suited for alpinism!
- Capucin couloir has been done; no further information.
- NNE of the Courtes (the summit part is probably fairly dry) and the Col des Cristaux were skied with good snow on 20/02.
- Aiguille d’Argentière: Barbey couloir was skied last weekend, (“concrete” high up, better on the lower two thirds.) No information for the “Y” this winter.
Concerning the ice gullies: little or no change since the last update of 12/02, (most of the climbing is in the Valley Blanche sector.) The ice plating on « Beyond Good Evil” is now very thin.
The approach behind the Requin was tracked by ski on 20/02. (Ice is Nice : looks thin but with ice + Sorenson Eastman: the bergschrund is no longer passable, need to use the rocks, then good conditions until the narrow gully near the top which is very dry.)
No major changes concerning the hiking or snowshoe trails. Likewise, for the icefalls.