MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS 18/12/2020
Some information at the start of the holidays.
The snow is well established in the valley. Recently it rained up to 2000m which has degraded the snow quality (now often crusty or like concrete in places lower down). There is just enough to ski tour at La Balme or Les Houches on what would normally be pisted areas. However, as they are not pisted for the moment, one needs to be a good skier. The cover is thin and stones are never far away. Conditions are better in neighbouring areas (Aravis, Chablais) where there is slightly more snow and the underlying terrain is grassier.
As a result of the snow conditions, hiking in the valley floor is limited. Information on feasible signposted tracks is here. Experienced hikers with good footwear and poles could try the “petit balcons”, La Floria, Le Chapeau or the Mottets snack bar (from Les Bois).
There is still not enough snow in the valley floor or on the dedicated trails, for snow shoeing. More experienced snowshoers could consider going to the chalets at Chailoux or Loriaz.
Very little information is available for the high mountain, especially concerning conditions for mixed climbing. (If the weather allows, it is a matter of go out and see!) Even though the glaciers are reasonably well filled in, it is just the start of the season. The return by the true left bank of the Argentière glacier is very awkward.
Do not hesitate to contact the Office de Haute Montagne to discuss the feasibility of your projects and to help others by logging your experiences in the cahier de course. (route book.)