La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 28 August 2023

After the heatwave, the snow and the cold! It’s all very confusing.

A little "inter-season" update after the storm!

There is:
  • 80cm of fresh, windblown snow at the Aiguille du Midi / Refuge des Cosmiques. 
  • 40cm at Conscrits - 60 cm at the Bérangère 
  • Around 60cm at the Refuge du Goûter.
  • 30cm at the Couvercle hut.
  • Around 10cm at 2500m.

The snowfall was accompanied by strong winds favouring the formation of accumulation zones and wind slab in the high mountains. The risk of avalanches should therefore not be underestimated, particularly over the next 48 hours with the forecast return of clear skies.

The glaciers, which have suffered from the recent hot weather, are going to be treacherous. This layer of snow has potentially formed weak snow bridges hiding the crevasses.

Before this episode, the mountains were very dry and most of the snow/mixed routes were impassable or in poor condition. Whilst the snow will improve certain routes, it won't bring others routes back into condition.

Classic routes such as the Aiguille du Tour or Mont Blanc via the Aiguille du Goûter will soon be retracked.

The Charpoua and Requin refuges now operate in winter mode. The Argentière hut closes on 1 September and the Durier hut on 5 September. 

The snow line has temporarily dropped to around 2200m. The hiking trails are already drying out and can be done with good boots.

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.