La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 18 November 2022


Hi everyone, we’re back again!

Not that we were away on holiday (well, a little bit) or that we had a thousand and one other things to do (yes, a little bit too) but between the lack of activity, the lack of information available (think about giving us some!), the parade of disruptions...etc In short, we didn't have the time!



It looks like winter is on the way, let's just hope it's not just a false alarm. November was quite unsettled and it snowed well in the high mountains! Lower down, the water tables and rivers have been restored to health!

Last night saw 25-30cm deposited at 1,900m and more than 40cm above 2,200m. To get off to a good start, there was a fair amount of wind with snow drifts of 80 cm at 2,100m. The ground is white up to 1,400m.

As a result, we will have to get back to good habits: consider the risk of avalanche in the preparation of outings and take rescue equipment (and consider training!)

Webcams are a good idea to give you an overview of the conditions:

In the Valley

It's the off season in the valley until the start of the winter season.

The Flégère gondola is open until the evening of Sunday 20 November. The Montenvers train will then take over.

In Italy, the Skyway is open for the season.

All the refuges are currently closed.


Higher Up

Regarding conditions in the high mountains, we have very little information because potential windows have been infrequent and brief and activity has been sparse. 

We've probably never finished telling you this, but you'll have to be wary of crevasses even more than usual at the beginning of the season. As you all know, the glaciers were very open this summer. The snow bridges will/are gradually forming again (snowfall, wind) but there is work to do, especially to make them strong enough. Some bad glaciers should be avoided until conditions improve. Elsewhere, it is recommended to be wary and systematically rope up on the way up. Some of the rimayes are likely to be nasty! 

Skis or snowshoes are now necessary if you are up high. 

A few gullies were climbed before the Aiguille du Midi closed (Chéré, Gabarrou-Albinoni). It remains to be seen how things have evolved since then and until the reopening. As a reminder, the North side of the Aiguille du Midi (Mallory/Frendo) is closed by municipal decree until Sunday 20 November.

Around the Punta Helbronner, a bit of activity on the Marbrées or Tour Ronde traverse (report on our “cahier de course” by the way, many thanks for the feedback!). No information about the mixed routes of the Grand Flambeau or the gullies of the Combe Maudite.

Some exploration on the Chardonnet but the approach by the glacier is very complex.


Skiing, Hiking & Snowshoeing

Lower down, we cant get skis on yet. If you are chomping at the bit, you can get a few turns below the Index by hiking up from Flégère but you'll need to be gentle as there is no base. 

It's not possible to hike at altitude (lakes etc). You can nevertheless go for a few steps in the snow to enjoy the scenery at an altitude of no more than 1,600-1,800m: chalets at Chailloux, the petits balcons paths, the Floria/Cerro/Chapeau buvettes. Remember to be properly equipped: good shoes, poles, warm clothes.

And it's still a bit early for snowshoes!


Translated with 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.