6 December 2022, Skyway Monte Bianco Ski & Mountain Conditions

For so early in the season – there has been plenty of ski activity from the Skyway Monte Bianco lift with lots of early bird enthusiasts putting in tracks on the Toule Glacier and its steep surrounding slopes and couloirs.  Numerous teams were out today, skiing, climbing, snow shoeing across the glacier and generally enjoying the reasonable early winter snow conditions, sun and relatively low winds.

Stunning pristine velvet sastrugi snow en route to the Col Rochefort

We enjoyed the steady progress breaking trail through beautiful pristine sastrugi snow on the way round to the Col Rochefort and some fun intro winter mountaineering along the lower ridge of the Aiguilles Marbrees.

Emily & Ben enjoying the wintery conditions on the easy lower ridge above the Col Rochefort on the Aiguilles Marbrees

Snow cover is understandably still generally lean, with lots of crevasses in evidence, but on the other hand much improved by the passage of a series of autumn storms giving snow generally above 2000m and indeed, there is basic cover down to the Pavillon mid station and lots of tracks down to it via the Toule Glacier and even the steep front cable face under the lift.

Tracks on the Skyway Cable face and coming in from the Toule Glacier.  Rocky lower down – but better than some other recent seasons!

There were also plenty of tracks descending the couloirs either side of the Skyway station, which looked pretty narrow and rocky lower down, before spilling out in to the Toule.

Heading in to the big wide couloir (at the top anyway!) right off the sunny terrace from Rifugio Torino

There were also plenty of tracks on steep sunny slopes coming off the Aiguilles d’Entreves and down into the same Toule bowl and one team had climbed the normal route on the Aiguille du Toule, above the Col de Toule and possibly skied the West Face to access the hanging col between the Entreves on the Toule where they skied some tentative turns in soft snow before cutting left to avoid some newly exposed rocky barriers below due to glacial recession / low snow volume.

Lots of early season tracks on the steep slopes leading from the Entreves down in to the Toule Glacier.  Mont Blanc beyond.

A few teams had toured over in to the Vallée Blanche and there were some nice looking tracks coming down the Gros Rognon variation after what looked like a fairly crevassed access skin through the crevassed country below the Combe Maudit where there were also touring tracks.  Some big holes up there!

Team climbing on the Grand Flambeau mixed route – taking the big groove just down and right of the summit – La Vie en Rose? M5

As well as a team on what looked like ‘La Vie en Rose’ (M5) on the Grand Flambeau, there was also a team climbing a central mixed route / snow couloir on the West Face of the Marbrees, probably the the ‘Directe des Cristalliers.

Crossing the Col du Geant with the big peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif beyond

It looks like there is plenty more snow on the way over the early half of this weekend – and down to much lower altitudes than so far this winter, which should improve the mid winter touring options and help building the ice for cascade climbing.

Get in touch this winter if we can help with some cascade ice climbing and winter climbing, mountaineering training, glacier snow shoe walking, private guiding for ski touring / off piste.

If you prefer to join one of our group courses, we have places available on our winter & spring 2023 ski touring, off piste and Mont Blanc & Matterhorn training group courses…

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Magical Snowdonia. An inspiring place for your next mountain adventure and alpine training weekend…Photo Andy Teasdale

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