17 December 2017, Good Start To Winter Ice Climbing Season – Swiss Cascades

Phil & Owen just enjoyed a couple of excellent early season cascade ice climbing days in the Swiss Valais above the Rhone Valley villages of Fionnay and Evolene.  High early season snow volume means that a high avalanche risk exists and very careful route selection is required to enjoy the good ice without being exposed to big snow slopes above.


Owen enjoying great early season ice in the Swiss Valais Alps.

A good freeze through much of December with plenty of snow has certainly created good wintery conditions across much of the northern Alps with some excellent powder skiing conditions and decent early season cascade action too.  In Chamonix there has been activity on the Argentiere Glacier icefalls, Rive Droite as well as a reasonable amount of routes being in condition in Cogne also with teams climbing on the classic Cascade Lillaz as well as further up the valley on other early season favourites, Patri, Monday Money and the steep and hard Lau Bij.

Unlike this time last year, mountaineering activity in the mountains has been mainly limited to brilliant off piste skiing at low and middle altitudes due to the impressive snowfalls in the last couple of weeks in particular.



Phil grappling with mixed and thin ice conditions in the Val de Bagnes, Swiss Alps. Photo Owen Samuels 

Cogne Ice Climbing Gallery…