A quick update of the conditions in mid-March.
The persistent good weather in February greatly encouraged mountain activities despite the closure of the ski lifts.
Apart from the gullies which remain rather "dry", the activity mainly focuses on ski touring and climbing some couloirs.
It is still possible to start skiing from the Bérard valley, Le Tour / Col de Balme, Lognan and Prarion routes, (preferable to start from Maisonneuve).
Loriaz, the Aiguillette des Houches, or the Flégère / Aiguilles Rouges sector require some ski carrying, making these sectors less and less interesting. Either way, harscheisen, (ski crampons) and crampons should be taken.
Winter is due to return this week with a forecast for heavy snowfalls and strong winds, giving an increase in the avalanche risk. Take care and consult BERA as well as the weather reports.
This weather disturbance will change the conditions of the high-altitude routes.
Some high mountain huts are preparing to open and more than ever a reservation is obligatory as well as the respect of the health rules and protocols put in place by the hut wardens!
None of the mid-altitude huts are due to open soon, as the hiking season is not due to start for several weeks :
- Albert 1er: April 4
- Argentière: March 13
- The Requin: March 19
- Les Grands Mulets: March 27
- The Conscrits: March 20
The Italian huts were due to open, (Torino, Gran Paradiso sector, etc.) but this has been delayed due to a toughening of health regulations in Italy.
In Switzerland, some huts are already open as on the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route but be sure to find out about the rules in force in each hut, as well as for the border crossing on the way there and on the way back.
To conclude, it should be stressed that hiking is only possible for the moment at low or mid altitude. Also, one needs to be well-equipped.
Only a few routes like Loriaz, la Flégère (from the golf course), the Prarion, the Chalets de Chailloux or the Lac Vert / Les Ayères allow one to gain some altitude.
Other routes such as Lac Blanc, Signal Forbes, Albert 1er, Plan de l'Aiguille, Grand Balconies North and South, Brévent, Bel Lachat etc. are completely out of condition
For snowshoeing, in the absence of a significant snowfall, the marked routes are now best done on foot with possibly a pair of walking crampons in addition to good footwear and poles.
In case of doubts about your technical capacities and the feasibility of the planned path, consult a mountain professional.