MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 15/10/2020
Not much has changed since the last update.
The weather remains wintery in the Chamonix valley for the start of the All Saints half term, (17th Oct to 2nd Nov in France),
A much hoped for improvement in the weather is needed before mountain activity can resume. There should be a weather window in the few days’ time.
The Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Montenvers train, (with the ice cave lift,) and the Flégère bubbles will be open during the holiday period. See :(https://www.montblancnaturalresort.com/en/).
There has been little information coming in recently about the high mountain. There has been a lot of snow, and if nothing else, making the glaciers “happy” :) ! To move about, skis or snowshoes are essential. Take care with the snow bridges which might not be consolidated yet. Also be aware of avalanche risk, even if Météo France is not yet issuing bulletins on BERA. Remember that all the huts are closed, (winter rooms accessible.)
As far as the mixed routes are concerned, what little information is available, (mainly from looking,) indicates conditions remain dry. The new snow is very cold and has covered the ice and rocks without consolidating yet. That said, some routes will be “climbable”. Looking forward to your reports !
Some classic routes could be feasible : Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche, Cosmiques Ridge, Pointes Lachenal and Marbrées traverses etc. More stability is needed before committing to longer routes like Mont Blanc by the Goûter or the Dômes de Miage.
The hiking trails can be challenging. They are often greasy and slippery, with care needed in places. There is quite a lot of snow above 2000m, (depending on the aspect) However, it is still too early to get out the snowshoes! As a reminder, some of the signposting has been removed for the winter. The early arrival of the snow has caused some trees to fall onto certain paths, (especially those with leaves).
As stated in the previous report, some alpine paths remain impractical, (Nid d'Aigle, Jonction, Lake Cornu, Albert 1er, Buet etc,) as are the multi day treks (Tour des Aiguilles Rouge, TMB) unless one is in expedition mode, :) .
Due to the snow, certain classic hikes require one to be well equipped, (poles, good boots, maybe gaiters.) In the absence of footprints, the path is not always visible and it is easy to go wrong.
Possible objectives are: the Aiguillette des Houches, Prarion via Charousse and the Col de la Forclaz, Bellachat hut, the Sentier des Pharaons above the Cerro chalet, Plan de l'Aiguille via Grand Bois. The Grand Balcon Nord (completed covered in snow and only suitable for experienced hikers,) Alpage de Blaitière, Montenvers via Caillet or Les Mottets (possibility to continue, there and back, to the Signal Forbes), Planpraz, there and back, via the Plan des Chablettes and the Combe du Brévent, Grand Balcon Sud, there and back, from Flégère, Chéserys lakes (possibility to continue to Lac Blanc in the snow,) from Flégère or the Col des Montets, Aiguillette des Posettes from Trè le Champs (snow higher up), Bérard Valley, Loriaz chalets.
The via ferrata des Evettes should be feasible, with the Flégère lift open. Likewise, for the Curalla VF at Plateau d'Assy (due to be closed from 02/11).