It’s putting a lot of fresh snow down above Chamonix this evening (ie raining down here in the valley!) so time for another conditions update:
The general theme over the last few days, together with the outlook for the next few is colder and snowier. Classic snow climbs and easier 4000m peaks are in currently in excellent condition, with a good layer of firm cramponing snow (eg the kind of routes we do on our Swiss Classic 4000m Peaks weeks). As the fresh snow accumulates however, the avalanche risk will increase – so careful route selection is going to be required for all climbs over the next few days.
Many North Faces are coming into good condition, with the Grand Pilier D’Angle on Mont Blanc seeing an ascent recently. Rich climbed the North Spur of the Chardonnet with Nik Bertholdt yesterday, reporting excellent conditions with plenty of ice and a good layer of polystyrene neve all the way up. On the same face the Charlet-Bettembourg and Escarra routes both look in good condition and both await ascents.
High altitude rock routes and 4000m rock ridges on the other hand are rapidly being covered in fresh snow at the moment, not as good options for the time being. Tonight the Southern French Alps, Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc Range and Saas-Zermatt regions are due to get the most precipitation – but a careful eye needs to be kept on weather forecasts as the outlook is still uncertain.
To help with this, I’ve just added the excellent Meteo Blue Website to our Alpine Climbing Conditions page – this is one of the best sources of information for rainfall prediction and rain radars that we’ve come across, so well worth checking out.