La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 1 December 2023
The weather’s still unsettled. The rain/snow limit has been going up and down like a yoyo!
There are large quantities of snow in the high mountains, so the glaciers must be very pleased! Reasonable snow cover in the “moyenne montagne". With the rain (and now the snow), there is around twenty centimetres at the bottom of the valley!
Lots of avalanches yesterday, because of the rain, and the avalanche risk will remain high for the next few days. So be careful. We're all eager to the start of the season, but you have to tread carefully!
The good news is that the Argentière-Lognan ski area will open partially but continuously from Saturday 2 December! Beware of the risk of avalanches and rocks, it's only the start of the season!
Remember that the other ski areas are still closed and being prepared, which means that they are not safe and that piste bashers are in action (beware of cables and please respect the work of groomers and pisteurs!). This is particularly true of the Nants piste (Brévent area), where a mechanical digger has gone up to 1500m to carry out repair work following the recent torrential floods (work completed).
The Montenvers train has also reopened. Please note that the old Mer de Glace gondola lift is closed permanently. Work to finish the new lift is continuing, but it is not yet ready for use. This means that there is no access to the grotto or the glacier for non-climbers. The old stairway (currently being dismantled) and the ladders are closed by decree. Access to the glacier is therefore only possible via the new access. See the map above which shows the "via ferrata" in green. This route requires mountaineering equipment and techniques (anchors in place). We haven't yet had any information on whether it can be used in winter.
With the arrival of the snow, snowshoeing is beginning to be possible on the signposted routes at the bottom of the valley:
In fine weather, the more experienced might consider climbing to the Chalets de Chailloux or Loriaz (itineraries that are neither signposted nor safe).
In the high mountains, a few teams have climbed the Rebuffat-Terray goulotte in good conditions during the one window of good weather.
Translated with kind permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.
Readers are reminded that conditions in mountain environments are prone to (sometimes rapid) change and that they should use their own best judgement when visiting them.