A quick update for the beginning of the half term holidays even though the situation is largely the same as in the last bulletin, (31 Jan.).
During the last few days, the conditions at lower altitudes have deteriorated due to the rise in temperatures. The snow cover is very patchy below 1200m or even 1500m.
Most of the footpaths along the valley floor are iced over and walkers need to take great care.
The marked snow shoe routes are practical for walkers but require good boots, hiking poles and crampons, (just in case.)
There are signposted trails from the lifts systems at Flégère, Lognan, Montenvers, Vallorcine, and Prarion.
Away from the marked trails, snow shoeing is possible at Loriaz, Chailloux, Charousse, Carlaveyron, Ayères and Aiguillette des Posettes. However, before setting out it is best to check the conditions.
The recent snowfall at altitude (15cm at 2000m, 20/25cm at 2500m) has improved the conditions in the ski areas.
Ski tourers have been active in the Argentière and Aiguilles Rouges sectors, (though be aware that with the warmth, some exposed slopes are prone to purging.) Even though the snow cover remains shallow for the beginning of February, the avalanche risk is still relatively high, (level 3,) above 2000m.
Concerning the Valley Blanche: the route is being done by some guides and experts in this area. However, the conditions are far from normal and are potentially dangerous. It is recommended to wait until the situation improves.
Concerning ice climbing: The icefalls have certainly suffered during this recent warm spell and it is difficult to make a judgement on the ice quality.
The overall conditions are likely to evolve rapidly during the next few days.