The Club produces a regular English translation of the Chamonix conditions report from La Chamoniarde to help climbers without an understanding of French to access up-to-date information on conditions in the valley. An archive of these reports can be seen below: 

 

SAFETY UPDATE: MONT BLANC ON SKIS VIA THE GRANDS MULETS

SAFETY UPDATE: MONT BLANC ON SKIS VIA THE GRANDS MULETS


After the miracle of last weekend, two people were less lucky and sadly lost their lives very early this morning (19 April) following a serac fall on the Petit Plateau. The toll could easily have been much worse as there were forty people on the route at the time.

 
Mont Blanc by Andrea Caramello
 
As indicated in the previous La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report, we remind all those who wish to climb this route that:
 
  • The plateau route is highly exposed to serac falls. The only way to protect yourself is not to expose yourself to it.

  • There is an alternative route to the ascent, admittedly longer and more technical but safer: the north arete of the Dôme du Goûter (unfortunately used by less than 20% of teams, often due to a lack of technical skill). The N ridge is currently tracked with 5-6m of ice on the exit (possibly blue ice) and can be done by all those who have the necessary skill and kit.

  • Mont Blanc on skis is a serious ski mountaineering route that is done in winter, in the high mountains. It is long and high, it is cold and often windy, the objective risks (crevasses, seracs, avalanches) are present all along the route, the ski descent is done in all types of snow. It is only for experienced ski-mountaineers who are physically and mentally prepared and adequately equipped (notably to protect themselves from the cold and wind and to do the ice pitches: proper steel crampons are necessary for the N ridge of the Dome and the Bosses ridge).

 

Translated with permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.

 

 

 

Report: 15 April 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 15 April 2023

A beautiful finish to the season (we are talking about mountain conditions!)

The episodes of good weather and poor weather continue to come and go. The snow cover keeps improving above 2,000m, and this is certainly a help to the glaciers and the faces at high altitude!

Generally speaking, we have had some good skiing lately. All the classic routes are possible. However, beware of the risk of avalanche which is, and will remain, present.

On the other hand, the good weather slots have been a bit short to engage in technical mountaineering (too much snow). Good conditions also in the Aiguilles Rouges massif.

The Flégère and Brévent lifts (except for the Planpraz TC, the Parsa chairlift and the Altitude 2000 TK which are extended until 23 April) are closing this Sunday. You can ski down to just above the Bérard buvette. More portage to get to Loriaz (refuge closed). A bit of portage from the Col de la Forclaz for the Pointe Ronde but good conditions too.

The Balme/Vallorcine ski area is also closing this Sunday.

Rachasses

On the Grands Montets (lifts open until 1 May), a "road" is being tracked by a piste machine (it will allow a digger to go up to the top of the pistes in order to start work as soon as the ski area is closed) at the level of the old Point de Vue piste (on the Argentière glacier side of the Col des Rachasses). So be careful in case of bad visibility!  

Still good conditions on the Vallée Blanche. Beware of falling seracs in the combe below the Requin hut, don't hang around. You can ski down not far from the grotto.  

No or little activity for the moment on the Trois Monts route. It's loaded with snow and we'll have to wait for a longer window for it to stabilise. The normal route on the Tacul was, however, tracked last weekend (not an easy route, especially to get out at the top, quite exposed to seracs from bottom to top). One team even went as far as the col du Mont Maudit without any further information. 

The ascent of Mont Blanc from the Grands Mulets hut started with a bang. As announced in our last update, the Jonction can be crossed quite well, the route by the Plateaux is in good condition (glaciers filled in) but the seracs remain. This was well shown by the huge serac fall that swept across the whole of the Petit Plateau and the track on Monday morning, with miraculously no one there at the time. The N ridge of the Dôme was tracked by the left side of the ridge to avoid the ice (5m of ice on the exit). It is certainly longer and more technical but "safety has a price". The summit has beeen reached by the Corridor route (again, a serac fall was reported) and via the Bosses ridge (no precise information but it did not pose any problems for the climbers). The N face has been skied (hard snow at the top). A reminder to all aspiring skiers: Mont Blanc is a serious route and you need to be "strong": it is long and high, the objective risks are important (crevasses, seracs...), it is cold: you need to be physically and psychologically prepared!

Snowshoeing is over! For hiking, there haven’t been any developments given the snowfall (see dedicated news).

When the weather is good, we can climb on the lower valley crags!

Because of nesting in progress, it is requested not to climb in the sector "Dièdre Frendo" and "la raflée” on Gaillands until the end of May (exact end date to be specified).

 

The Curalla via ferrata (Passy) is open!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 06 April 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 06 April 2023

 

Good weather has now taken over from the unsettled weather (which did do the mountains and the glaciers a world of good). Snow cover is now almost normal at altitude (above 2,200m).

Ski touring and high mountain activity is starting up again. We need to give the snow time to stabilise, to settle down and to transform. The wind has been pretty active in some places in the past few days! Trail breaking and clearing are often the order of the day if you are first up there.

At the bottom of the valley, spring continues to settle in despite the cool temperatures of the last few days, but hiking remains limited due to the snow cover at altitude. You can find a more detailed update in French here.



Aiguilles Rouges

Another week of opening for the lifts (Brévent/Flégère). All the classics are tracked. There is still some powder snow on shady slopes. Elsewhere “moquette” (smooth, spring snow) is developing. The Lac Blanc refuge is open, as is the Loriaz refuge (skis need to be carried right up through the forest - not a good ratio of walking to skiing). In the Bérard valley, you can ski as far as the buvette at the waterfall!



Albert 1er / Trient

The Albert 1er refuge is open, as is the Trient hut. The Le Tour lifts will close on 16 April.

Good general conditions for ski touring in the area with a lot of activity linked to the Haute Route (Chamonix-Zermatt). All the main cols (Col Sup, Col du Tour, Col Blanc) are OK. The Col du Midi des Grands is still very dry (unstable terrain on the le Tour side). Otherwise, in general, the glaciers are relatively well filled in! You can still get down to le Tour on skis via the left bank of the glacier. There is more and more walking to reach Trient (discontinuous snow from 1,700m).

 

Argentière Glacier

Here too the main activity is ski touring!

The refuge and the lifts are open. The col des Rachasses is OK, as is the passage along the slabs on the left bank of the Argentière glacier.

All the classic cols are in good condition: Passon, Chardonnet, Tour Noir, Argentière. The slope at the top of the glacier du Milieu is hard snow and it's not softening at the moment. The couloir en Y is hard snow and can only be done going up. Quite good conditions on skis in the Barbey couloir the last few days. There is also some activity on the N faces: col des cristaux, NE face of the Courtes. The Couturier has also been tracked (summit icy, descent by the Z variant).

On the other hand, we have had no mountaineering activity. In the gullies it's very dry (lots of snow and no ice underneath) so no or little activity for the moment. Ditto on the N faces of the Droites and the Courtes. 

 

Talèfre Basin

The Couvercle hut has opened its doors! Access to the hut is via the Central Couloir, and for a few more days via the Pierre à Béranger, but it won't last long (see photo below).

For the Whymper, the rimaye is not obvious: you have to go down inside and climb up 4/5 meters (unless anyone can find a better route). Once in the couloir, some people failed this morning: a struggle in variable snow with a thin surface crust. Watch this space!

The S face of the Droites has been tracked, the rimaye of the oblique couloir is complicated then trail breaking on the face. There is also a surface crust and inconsistent snow underneath. 

The last news was that the Pointe Isabelle was being tracked. More info to come, by eye the upper part is ice. A little further south, the NW gully of the Pointe de Fébrouze was climbed without more info.

 



Aiguille du Midi

The Cosmiques hut (bookings until 01 May by phone or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., then it will be online - launch of the platform around 20 April) and the Requin hut are open. The Torino hut remains closed (winter room available).

Everything is going well in the Vallée Blanche where you can find a bit of everything in terms of snow. The glacier is now relatively well filled in but watch where you ski! Skis off 50m from the grotto. There is a lot of activity on the Brèche Puiseux (good ascent trail, 2 abseils of 30m at the brèche or at the bivouac) or on the col d'Entrêves/Combe de la Vierge etc. There were also many people at the Pointe Yeld and the Capucin glacier.



The N face of the Tacul was done yesterday, Wednesday 05 April, without any further information, notably regarding the route at the top of the face. For Mont Maudit, you'll have to go and see what it looks like (watch out for the stability of the snow cover with the wind of the last few days).

Gullies: the Pellissier and the Valeria were climbed in very good conditions. One team on Pas d'Agonie I ("quite a lot of snow, pitch 3 dry even after the narrows"). No need to remind you that from now on you must overnight in a hut! Quite a few teams in the Chéré despite the still very dry conditions on pitch 1. Contamine-Negri also tracked.

Arête Laurence and the Cosmiques arete have been tracked. Still no one on the Lachenal traverse.



Mont Blanc by the Grands Mulets

The refuge is open!

Concerning the access to the refuge, it's fine from the Plan de l'Aiguille. From the tunnel entrance , you can put skis on at the old Para station (1,685m). The Jonction goes well higher up. There is also a path lower down.

The plateaus have been tracked in good conditions (the glacier is well filled in, but the seracs are still there!) The N ridge of the Dôme du Goûter looks icy but "not bad for the time of year". The climbing teams stopped at the Vallot because of the wind and cold. The slope below the Vallot is really icy so you need proper steel crampons. 



Dômes de Miage

The refuges (Tré la Tête and Conscrits are open). Skis on as you leave the woods (1,750-1,800 m). The Mauvais Pas is OK (on foot; still some snow).

Regular activity on the Dômes traverse. The wind has hammered the ridge. All kinds of snow on the descent of Armancette (starting to transform). Skis off above the lac d'Armancette (around 1,900m).

Some people on the Pain de Sucre of Mont Tondu (also tracked from the lacs Jovets).

No one on the N faces (Lex Blanche etc), as far as I can see the wind has had a big effect and the ice is probably not far away.



And elsewhere...

Very dry conditions even if they have improved on the Grand Paradiso. The Vittorio Emmanuelle and Chabod huts opened on the 06 and 07 April respectively, closing on 07 May.

The same is true of the Italian side of Monte Rosa.

The Chamonix-Zermatt traverse is fine!



Snowshoeing

It will soon be time to get back to tennis!

You can still get out on the marked itineraries on the Index and Flégère or on the Prarion (lifts will be closed on Sunday 09 April) or on the Posettes from the Vallorcine cable car.

 

Ice Climbing

The end of the ice climbing season! 

 

Hiking

Even if the flowers and spring are well established in the valley bottom, it is still winter in the mountains. The snow is still very present from 1,500/1,600m depending on the aspect. The ski areas are still open and the main activity of the moment is still skiing.

The possibilities for hiking are therefore greatly limited. Most of the classic itineraries, especially the most popular ones, are absolutely impassable (grand balcon paths, high altitude lakes etc...). Almost all the mid-mountain refuges in the valley are closed and inaccessible (except for the Loriaz refuge).

The paths are often greasy and slippery: be careful! You will probably have to cross some snowy passages, which will not be a problem if you have "mountain feet" and if you are properly equipped (good boots and poles). Temperatures can be cold in the mountains and the feeling of cold is reinforced when there is wind. Make sure you are well equipped (warm clothes, windproof jacket, gloves, hat, sunglasses...).
 
 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 17 March 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 17 March 2023

The long-awaited snow is here! Well, at least above 2,000m. At the end of this 10 day blip, it’s time for a quick update.
 


Skiing
 
Snow cover at altitude has improved considerably, but has unfortunately got worse below 1,800 m. As has often been the case in recent years, snowfall was accompanied by strong winds. This had the effect of covering/filling in the glaciers, but also of creating snow bridges that are not always solid, as well as accumulations that are sometimes substantial. So be careful! Spring is on the doorstep and it is getting warmer and warmer, even at altitude: beware of being late! Sleeping in a refuge can be comfortable or necessary depending on your choice of outing. And the timing is good because most of them are now open or will open in the next few days: the Requin, Argentière, Loriaz and Les Prés huts are open. The Conscrits, Cosmiques (17/3), Albert Ier & Lac Blanc huts (18/3) will open this weekend. As a reminder, the access to the latter in winter is a ski touring itinerary and is not suitable for snowshoeing or hiking (risk of slipping). Finally, the Grands Mulets and the Couvercle will open on 1 April! 

On the Vallée Blanche, conditions have improved considerably. However, be careful on the Petit Envers itinerary, the track passes over a hole. Be careful at the Salle à Manger and watch out for the “moulins" (ice holes) on the Mer de Glace. You can ski down to the grotto again now. 

All the classic ski touring routes are being done. Make sure you cross any moraine (Col du Passon, Col du Chardonnet) early to avoid exposure to stone fall. There are two possibilities for the abseil descent on the Swiss side of the Col du Chardonnet. Firstly, three abseils on the right bank. The first 45m and the others shorter, bolt belays. The alternative is 3 x 30m abseils down the left bank (check the belays, the first is on a large block with two “maillons rapides”, the second block with a sling, the third a bolt with 2 maillons). It’s still possible to ski down to Le Tour, as well as to the Bérard buvette and the hamlet of Couteray. 

Climbing

For the gullies, the activity will resume slowly. As you know, it has snowed well up there and the faces have been well plastered: it should settle down and purge over the next few days! The ice climbing season is coming to an end. There is still a bit of climbing at Bérard, and possibly at the Crèmerie or Déferlante (make sure to check the state of the ice before you start).

Snowshoeing

There is a lot of activity on snowshoes: the snowy weather has helped the high altitude itineraries which are all in good condition (Prarion, Flégère, Posettes, Loriaz). Further down, you can walk on the valley floor trails (petit balcons nord & sud, Cerro, Dard, Floria, Chapeau...), and more generally up to 1,500m on the north side and 1,700m on the south side.
 
 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 01 March 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 01 March 2023

Almost six weeks without significant precipitation, but it’s looking....well, lets not jinx it...

As a result, conditions aren't changing much.

Skiing

Off-piste, it's not good: poor snow cover, often hard snow. You have to be a very good skier. Be careful not to take on routes with too little snow, in poor nick or not suited to your level given the current conditions. Let's hope that March will give us some nice turns. The conditions are still good on piste, but here again you have to ski carefully.

When ski touring, you can find a bit of everything, but rarely very good: hard refrozen snow, smooth snow, windblown snow. In short, you must adapt your choice of outings to these particular conditions and not be too ambitious!

A good technical knowledge is necessary to practice at this time, whether it is for the ascent or the descent. Couteaux (ski crampons) and even boot crampons are often necessary even for classic runs. Beware of falls and slides with this often hard snow. In spite of everything, the skiability is sometimes good thanks to the two or three small (very small) falls of snow. Snow cover at the bottom of the valley has taken a serious hit. It is sometimes green up to 2,000m on the south side. You have to plan a little portage from Notre Dame de la Gorge (20-25 minutes on the descent), from Le Buet/Couteray, from Finhaut and probably also from Plaine-Joux or the Col de la Forclaz. It's not really worth taking the skis in the Aiguillette des Houches sector. The classic routes of the Aiguilles Rouges are frequented in variable conditions. Very hard snow at the bottom of the Bérard valley, some even put on crampons.

Conditions are also technical on the glaciers. Some information in summary:

- Col du Midi des Grands even drier. (See photo below).
- Couloir de la Table: Good conditions to go up. (Narrows with mixed climbing low down).
- Forbes Arête done there and back.
- Col des Rachasses: Use crampons on the traverse at the end (bullet hard).
- Col du Passon: Descent towards Le Tour in bad condition (hard snow, unpleasant exit).
- Col du Chardonnet: Dry access from the Argentière side, beware of rock fall. Descent on Saleina side: 2 new belays on the col. The rimaye has collapsed. It is necessary to make a rappel on a dead man (bring one because nothing is in place for the moment and there's no real possibility to make a snow mushroom because the snow is unconsolidated) or otherwise on the last belay (need to check this) with an “escaper" + 50m rope (or 2x50m). It is overhanging and is unlikely to be climbable on the way up: go via the secondary couloir on the left.

- The Argentière refuge opens this Saturday 4 March.
- Glacier du Milieu (now also called Couloir du Milieu) on the Aiguille d'Argentière: 15m abseil to pass the narrows on the way down. Rimaye ok, two short mixed pitches above - bring protection - top a bit dry.
- NE face of Les Courtes tracked on the way up (no info on skiability - no doubt it will be better with new snow) with a traverse and descent by the normal route on the Talèfre side.
- Still some activity on the Couturier. Bad conditions for skiing (it's dry) in the Whymper (but ok on the way up). So plan to abseil/downclimb. It's long and it heats up fast = be early at the top.
- No info yet on Pointe Isabelle.
- A bit of activity on the Brèche Puiseux but a decent snowfall would be good. The Mont Mallet glacier is not in very good condition.
- Vallée Blanche: Arete and ‘Z' equipped. The classic or the Rognons routes are best. Smooth snow and bumps mainly. Traces of serac falls on the traverse to reach the Requin, dont hang around here. "The bottom track at the exit of the salle à manger is very dangerous (a crevasse that's opening up and risk of falling), it is better to take the top track...". An unusual crevasse also at the exit of the salle à manger. The Vallée Blanche is therefore reserved for good skiers! Its a 5 minute walk to reach the grotto. The descent via the Mottets is no longer relevant unless you have no choice!
- The last cabin for Montenvers is at 4PM until 17 March, 4:30PM from the 18. "Every evening we have latecomers that we try to wait for, but sometimes we are obliged to close down in order to make the last train of 4:30PM leave on time.
- Vallée Noire reserved for very good skiers (hard snow, steep and exposed at the bottom).
- Still no activity on the Grands Mulets, it will have to snow because it doesn't look inviting (glacier filled in but a lot of wind-affected snow).
- Dômes de Miage has been done: "Departure from Cugnon, we put on skis at 1,700m. The Mauvais Pas is ok on foot without crampons but not on skis. Glacier hard snow and well-tracked ridge in good snow. We put our skis on at the top, sastrugi, alternating hard snow - light crust until about half way down, then hard snow with more or less good grip. Good skiing needed! Then it's hard snow transforming around 12-13h. Skis off above the Armancette lake and then back on but not for long."
- The start of activity on Chamonix-Zermatt with very dry conditions. The descent to Zermatt from the Col Valpelline is said to be complex. More info to come when the activity is more consistent.
- Bad conditions (little snow, bare glaciers) on the Grand Paradis. The refuges (Chabod and Vittorio Emmanuelle) have postponed their opening until 30 March.

Climbing

A few changes concerning the goulotte activity. Some information in summary (if no information please refer to our last update): 

- Complicated access to the Ravanel-Frendo and Claire Chazal (steep traverse above the rimaye).
- Pépite: One step to cross the rimaye - “couic” (hard) snow at the bottom -3rd pitch: left corner dry, the right one is just OK - unconsolidated snow at the top.
- Mini-Blast always very busy (approach exposed to seracs/avalanches). As elsewhere, the numerous passages make it easier to progress but that's no reason by itself to go there without having the necessary skills.
- Fil à Plomb (1 thin plate after the crux) and Mallory retracked after the snowfall. A few ropes on the Eugster Diagonal (first technical pitch difficult to protect - rest OK).
- Chéré (dry); Modica-Noury; Gabarrou-Albinoni; Pellissier, N face of Tour Ronde still frequented. Some ropes also in M6 Solar, Pas d'Agonie, Laratoune (quite dry conditions). A few ropes on the Supercouloir (mixed start, abseiling at the end of the ice pitches). The season is progressing and some routes (depending on their orientation) are no longer possible to consider sensibly off the first lift.
- The Cosmiques and Torino huts are closed. Overnights are possible in the abri Simond or in the winter room of the Torino.
- Fairly good general conditions for the moment on Ice is Nice and Sorenson-Eastman above the Requin.

Ice climbing is still possible at the Bérard site (booking needed), at the Crèmerie, on the left bank of the Argentière glacier (Déferlante/Mini-couloir sector) and probably at Cogne.


Snowshoeing

It's game set and match! (“La raquette” is French for snow shoe).

At least for as long as it doesn't snow! The classic routes (+ Floria, buvette du Chapeau...) are possible with crampons. Be careful not to get into too exposed positions, turn back when there is still time! "The atypical snow conditions can sometimes give the feeling that spring is just around the corner when winter is not yet over”.  

 

As a reminder, except for a few exceptions (Chalets de Chailloux, Loriaz by the 4x4 track – snow slides before the bridge on the forest path make the passage tricky, several accidents), the classic hikes in the valley (lakes, grands balcons paths...) are not practicable in winter! 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Report: 17 February 2023

La Chamoniarde mountain conditions report for 17 February 2023

Spring seems to be coming earlier and earlier! 

Skiing

The thaw has allowed a relative improvement of the skiing conditions on south facing slopes, where melt/refreeze processes are now well in place (hard snow in the morning, softening during the day) - subject to new weather conditions. On shady faces, it's not the same: alternating between hard snow (often with a good grip), crust and sastrugi. Demanding skiing! Be careful, on hard snow falls are difficult to arrest. Couteaux (harscheisen), and even boot crampons depending on the itinerary, should be an integral part of your equipment list. 

In the valley, all the marked ski touring routes are open - except for the Nants and Les Praz pistes. The snow is starting to disappear at the bottom of the Prarion track. 

The lack of snowfall for a month now has not improved the condition of the glaciers either. The 'Z' on the Aiguille du Midi arête is icy. The Vallée Blanche is 'tracked' snow, that is to say smooth and hard with good grip, sometimes bumpy. Sizeable holes are opening up in several places, notably below the Petit Rognon and at the level of the Salle à Manger.

Speaking of opening, the Requin refuge is also open and that's more pleasant news! Conditions for the climb to the Brèche Puiseux haven't changed too much compared to our last update, but the Mont Mallet glacier is more and more open. One crevasse in particular is tricky to cross and may soon become problematic (see photo below). Always be careful on the Mer de Glace, the track still passes by deep “moulins". It’s no better past the grotto where where rocks are more and more visible on the way to the Mottets buvette. 

Lognan: the final part up to the Col des Rachasses is tricky although a track has been cut with a shovel. Beware of the rimaye at the Col des Grands Montets! The passage under the moraine des Rognons, on the left bank of the Argentière glacier, has become very technical. In the glacier basin, many itineraries are being skied in more or less good conditions (it's up to you to evaluate them, it's often preferable to go up and look): 

- Chevalier: Some ice in the middle of the couloir 

- NNE face of the Courtes and SW of the Brèche de l'Amône: No more information, especially on the rimayes 

- Cols d'Argentière and Tour Noir: Nothing to report 

- Aiguille d'Argentière: Y (the top of the left branch is quite dry) and Glacier du Milieu (dry gully at the bottom, summit ridge OK) 

- Col du Chardonnet: Very dry at the top, 1 or 2x30m abseils on the north side. 3 cols climbed without more info. 

- Col du Passon: Moraine on the right bank of the Argentière glacier tricky (rockfalls during the day), difficult snow conditions on the lower side of Le Tour (crust). 


In the Aiguilles Rouges/Haut-Giffre, little change. The classic routes are all being done. In the lower Bérard valley, the footbridge has been renovated and the closure order ends today. A little further on, our Swiss friends have warned us that ski tourers have been seen crossing the Emosson reservoir. With the new pumping station at Nant de Drance, the level of the Emosson and Vieil Emosson lakes is changing much faster than before, making the ice very fragile. It has therefore become extremely dangerous to venture onto the two lakes, even if they are completely frozen! 


Climbing

Keeping with the theme of ice, this wonderful ice climbing period is coming to an end. Routes exposed to the sun are gradually cracking and collapsing. A few protected high altitude ice falls are still possible, notably on the left bank of Argentière (Mur des Dents de la Mer, Crèmerie, EMHM OK but the bottom is not good/hard to protect, better to abseil down the left bank of the icefall and top rope the first pitch), Armancette, Stassaz... As always, be careful about the conditions and their evolution! There's still climbing at the Bérard artificial site (reservations here)

The goulotte season is starting. Beware of overcrowding! There are frequently more than 5 teams on the same routes, so be creative! The Plan de l'Aiguille sector is a good example with a lot of people on the Mallory-Porter and Fil à Plomb. The Col du Plan goulotte has been done (variable snow, difficult to protect). Mini Blast is also being done a lot (double rimaye OK for the moment, very well tracked gully, be careful during the abseils as the belays in place are 60m long or even a little more). 

Géant/Vallée Blanche: Several reports in our “cahier de courses". The Tacul triangle is quite dry, Goulotte Chéré certainly OK). On the Pointe Lachenal, the Pellissier is still acceptable, and the rimaye still tricky. Scotch on the Rocks climbed - 1st pitch hard to protect, rest rather well supplied with ice. The Modica-Noury is rather deficient in ice but still OK, whilst the Gabarrou Albinioni is relatively well supplied (last pitch still rather dry). Supercouloir OK by eye. The Valeria rimaye is complicated, conditions OK in the gully, last pitch dry. The north face of the Tour Ronde rimaye is also tricky, conditions OK in the narrows (some ice), upper slopes are black ice, descent by SE ridge and E face in good conditions.

Activity on the Verte! The Whymper was skied in OK conditions but must have deteriorated a lot this week. Rimaye OK (passes well to the right), narrow summit ridge. Some big purges are reported during the day, as always watch out for the timing of the descent. The Couturier has been climbed: the rimaye also passes well on the right, 15/20m of ice in the lower narrows. Further on in the Argentière basin, Petit Viking was climbed but the rimaye is very complicated (a step of M4/M5) then fine ice and snow without cohesion at the top.


Snowshoeing

Finally, no change for snowshoe lovers: All the marked routes in the valley are practicable. Most of them can be done with crampons and poles, the snow having been well-packed by lots of people.

 

 

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.