Following the last few days of warm weather the conditions have deteriorated in numerous sectors.
This morning (31st January) there was about 12 cms of windblown snow above 1900m
Last week there was a lot of ice climbing activity, (Eau Noire, right and left banks of the Argentière glacier, Loriaz icefall, Notre Dame de la Gorge, Bérard valley…) However, with the recent warm weather the ice is now very soft and fragile. It is therefore recommended to wait until conditions improve again.
Concerning ski touring, one has to be fairly shrewd to find any powder, though the classic routes remain reasonably skiable. However, it will only be when the good weather returns that the effect of the rain on the lower parts of the routes will be seen.
Whatever the route, ski and boot crampons are strongly recommended, (quasi essential)
No recent news for the high mountain routes but the classics like Cosmiques ridge, Aiguilles Marbrées, Tour Ronde or Aiguille du Tour should still be possible.
THE VALLEY BLANCHE: conditions have got a lot worse and it is best to wait until they improve. The section from the Gros Rognon to the bifurcation with the Leschaux glacier is particularly awkward, with a real crevasse danger. The lower part of the route, to reach Montenvers, has very little snow cover.
The areas for snow shoeing are basically the same as in the last report: Prarion, Chailloux, Loriaz, Ayères, or, using the lifts, the Aiguillette des Posettes and the Index. For the moment, routes such as the traverse from the Plan de l’Aiguille to Montenvers are not practical.
The footpaths at the valley floor and the Petit Balcon Sud have ice patches. A good pair of boots and walking poles are essential and walking crampons could prove very useful.
The forecast for the next few days is for the weather to remain unstable. No significant snowfall is forecast before next weekend (to be confirmed). Patience is needed.