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Chamonix 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
. . . something different . . .
Go on skis from Argentiere thru Lavancher to Chamonix.
For bad weather, high avalanche risk, tired from too many days of steeps, or just Different kind of skiing.

Monday I started from Chamonix on the cross-country "ski de fond" pistes, uphill a ways to Lavancher with some ungroomed sections (and 10 meters of carrying skis on an asphalt road, a rather steep down to the open fields and cross-country ski pistes -- which then goes thru a _tunnel_ under the downhill-ski piste from Lognan to the Grands Montets bottom station. Some curvy hilly pistes to reach a street of the town of Argentiere.
Then I skied back the same way (with 10 meters of walking + carrying) to Chamonix.

Lots more details below.

Hope someone who knows more and better can offer corrections and suggestions about this.

Ken
___________________________________________
along the way . . .
* met two groups of twenty-something skiers on light skinny cross-country skis, going the "easier" way, S from Argentiere to Chamonix.
. . . (I myself was on light skinny skating skis with no climbing skins).

* met three people on Alpine Touring / Randonnee skis.

* met two small parties on pure downhill skis, who seemed to be skiing back to their lodging after riding up some lift.

* not as many views of dramatic peaks as you might guess, because you're in the deep slot of the valley, so you see lots of evergreen trees, and various buildings.

* biggest disappointment is that the street connection to the town of Argentiere is a long way from any snack + drink spots. Maybe next time I'll declare victory at the base station for the Grands Montets lifts.

* the slope just N from Lavancher is very very steep by cross-country "ski de fond" standards - (easily visible along the SE side of the main highway). I somehow missed the sign telling me to take my skis off before going down, so good thing the snow surface was forgiving. If do the tour one-way from the Grands Montets, this is an uphill.

Notes:
* the person at the Chamonix cross-country ski de fond center told me the connection / liaison thru Lavancher is not open for skiing. Because it crosses private land and cross-country management is not permitted to groom that section of the route.

* skiing on the groomed cross-country "ski de fond" tracks around Chamonix and Argentiere and Vallorcine requires paying a fee (they charged me 10 Euros).

* the groomed tracks closest to the Chamonix center/foyer at the South end are mostly very gentle. Great for learning skating technique, but likely boring for an experienced athletic cross-country skier. The tracks in the northern part of the Chamonix network are significantly hilly and more interesting. To focus on those, consider purchasing ticket first at the Chamonix center/foyer, then parking at the alternate trailhead listed below.

* If you thing fun cross-country ski touring should have lots of alternation between up and down, not much of that on this tour. Mostly it has transitions between flat and gentle and steep and steeper. Does a bit better with curves. Even better with variety of scenery.

* of course can use the shuttle bus (or railroad) to do this as a one-way tour. In the N-bound direction it's fairly unrelentingly up and up, gentle or steep. Going S-bound in good conditions it's a long easy cruise with one super-steep uphill.

Waypoints:
. . . GPS latitude longitude approx . . .
* connection to Argentiere town street: (N45.9825 E6.9304)
* tunnel under Lognan piste near Grands Montets bottom station: (N45.9782 E6.9302)
* cross-country "ski de fond" center/foyer for Argentiere pistes: ? (N45.9678 E6.9159) ?
* South end of Argentiere pistes (liaison thru Lavancher) : (N45.9639 E6.9122)
* traverse ungroomed around SE side of Lavancher: (N45.9544 E6.9071)
* carry skis on asphalt road SW side of Lavancher: (N45.9539 E6.9053)
* sharp turn on trail between Lavancher + Chamonix: (N45.9498 E6.9072)
* North end of Chamonix pistes (liaison thru Lavancher): (N45.9474 E6.9049)
* Trailhead alternate Les Praz for more interesting northern Chamonix pistes: (N45.9384 E6.8955)
* ski on bridge over river: (N45.9356 E6.8905)
* ski under railroad and main highway: (N45.9346 E6.8891)
* cross-country "ski de fond" center/foyer for Chamonix pistes: (N45.9274 E6.8751)
* additional free Parking near Chamonix center: (N45.9283 E6.8766)
______________________________________________________


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 5-04-18 19:45; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just noticed that the avalanche level is rising to 4/5 tomorrow above 2000m on all aspects.
https://henrysavalanchetalk.com/off-piste-snow-report-weather-8-14-march-savoie-n-french-alps/
It seems to me spring is in the air.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
https://www.chamonix.net/english/news/avalanche-risk-the-prefecture-calls-for-vigilance
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@jbob, yes indeed, that's why we went to Verbier today, and why I am staying in bed most of tomorrow morning.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Saw a big avalanche yesterday fonding at Pont. It nearly reached the road which would have left us stuck!


I understand bed is also a dangerous place.
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@HammondR, WHAT?!?! On a Powder morning 😉
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Saturday I was up Brevent for a girls morning with the ‘Women’s Mountain Academy’. We occasionally tested the offpiste, but it wasn’t fun, so instead had a great morning working on technique onpiste. My group was out with an ex FWT competitor, who was lovely, so it was still really fun (even with drifting low vis). Towards the end of the morning we headed up on the top lift, and the snow was superb! Deep fresh snow at the very top – so lapped that a couple of times before heading back to watch the rugby (Yay Ireland! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy).

Sunday out in GM, even accepting the low vis. Offpiste generally a bit pants, lots of almost-refrozen crud. So mostly cruised the pistes, when we could see. After lunch 3 of us took a chance and headed up to the top as there was no queue, even though the vis was still awful. Worth it! Plenty of fresh snow – just deep enough to be nice and feel great underfoot (couldn’t actually see it), but not deep enough that we needed to worry what was coming up (stuck to the pistes). Fun blind powder turns.

This morning: Went back to GM for a quick couple of runs this morning, and after seeing zero queue, decided to go straight back up to the top of GM. I think we were on the second bin to run. Hmmmm. Snow deeper than yesterday, and lovely. But vis even worse – didn’t think that would be possible! At least we could tell gradient yesterday – not so today. One of those were you think you’ve stopped, but then realise you are still moving; stick to one side to follow a line of poles, as you can’t see the other! So I accidently turned it into a binding test… Embarassed had a biiiig tumbling fall 30m from the top, twisted a knee, ski came off. Knee is stiff and sore now, but I was able to ski the whole way down to the mid station, phew. Good bindings, and din. Tellingly, even though I was then skiing the whole run rather slowly, only 2 people came past us! So yeah, awesome snow up there, if you don’t mind skiing completely blind Very Happy

I’m working now, so off skis for a few days – good timing.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@fixx, RICE! Hope it eases up quickly. x
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get well soon Smile

sunday we went up plan joran, down to the riders cafe and kept going straight back down to the car park lol
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If snow-forecast is to be believed there's some epic snowfall due in the next 6 days. Fairly cold, lowish freezing point and low winds.
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Chamonix/6day/mid
Would love an update from anyone in the hills. My wife's there this weekend and my turn on the 23rd so I hope she saves some for me!
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supposed to clear up wednesday i think but staying cold. The weekend will have good snow with lower avi levels although it'll be well tracked out by then.

edit, you can pretty much ignore what snow forecast says, this is the best one for the area:

http://chamonix-meteo.com/chamonix-mont-blanc/weather/forecast/morning/5_days_weather_forecast.php
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Apparently GM was great today after lunchtime - vis cleared, and the snow was still decent to epic in places. Had friends sending me annoying pics NehNeh
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Hurtle, @eddiethebus, thanks! It’ll be fine – I've done much worse to my other knee in the past Embarassed A few days of RICE and I’ll be back out on Friday as planned. I skied nearly 2000m of descent straight after, including deep fresh snow for the first half, so it can’t be too messed up Wink

Slightly more worried about a very purple toe… got kicked in the foot by a drunk in ski boots at Sunday night C9 après, and it’s a worrying colour, and still very sore! Wedging it in to my ski boots yesterday was NOT fun, though it quickly started going numb (enough to ski). Après was worth it though Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@fixx, ow!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
First Midi of the season.

Only opened 45 min late. No rush, took our time getting ready. First out the door, had to brake trail down the ridge



Fresh and deep till the refuge du Requin then just fresh all the way till (almost) the valley floor A few bits of cloud to deal with, but nothing that a bit of care and attention along with teamwork between group leaders couldn't easily solve.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Brilliant
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think this has been posted before on another thread, but as an excellent lampooning of Chamonix life I thought it was worth sticking on here. Some great cameos!


http://youtube.com/v/HPP2YHR02BA
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
hollando wrote:
I think this has been posted before on another thread, but as an excellent lampooning of Chamonix life I thought it was worth sticking on here. Some great cameos!


http://youtube.com/v/HPP2YHR02BA


I was going to put this up as required viewing for anyone thinking of heading to Chamonix - as you say soo many in jokes and cameos.
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A little update from this morning

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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
snowHead Toofy Grin
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Loved the video! Had a right giggle.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Normally at this time of year I can get away with trainers in the village/resort in the evening, but with this year's snow I'm guessing proper boots will be required in the evenings, right? Thanks Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
no snow on the ground now. i've survived with trainers all season anyway lol
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@eddiethebus thanks!
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eddiethebus wrote:
no snow on the ground now. i've survived with trainers all season anyway lol


Wouldn't have worked at my place just after New Year, you couldn't leave the building without wading through several inches of water when the sudden warm snap with rain came.

The water table around us was so high that if you went into the cave water was literally squirting out of the walls at eye level.
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yeah were on the high street so its not so bad!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My worst fall (so far) this season was on the high street. Rain over compacted snow turned to ice type stuff. Approach shoes on (rubbish in ice as soles way to hard) trying to get from the japanese to the Place bus stop at lunchtime. Pavements carnage as the Marie's boys just couldn't keep up.

Boom! On the deck, on me knees. Still sore now, and that was nearly 3 months ago.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Don't know if anyone is interested in snow conditions at the moment?

Having returned from a couple of days touring in Italy, from the Bezzi Hut, I was in a pickle thinking where to go for fresh tracks. The avalanche risk is 3 or 4 all over the place. High winds are shifting a fair bit of snow around.

After sloping away from a wind halted Midi lift early this morning, I jumped on the first bus in Chamonix Sud, which happened to take me to Brevant. At the top of the Index lift I decided that the 10/12 people skinning and booting up to the Col de la Floria must be on top of the conditions, and set off up there myself.

Enough of me. Conditions on the north face of the Floria were terrific. Cold soft (chuffing steep) snow for 500m+. I would wager all the steep descents in the Aiguilles Rouge with a similar aspect (Mort Glacier, Col du Belvedere, Col de Beugeant, etc) will be in similarly good condition. If you are prepared to put in a bit of leg work you will be rewarded.

The remainder of the skiing down to the skin back up to the Keyhole was predominantly breakable crust of the least popular kind.

The conditions in the Berard valley were similarly very good from the Keyhole, and predominantly good down to the wiggly track.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Lovely snow at Grand Montets for Easter Sunday. Powder snow all over, vis a bit hit and miss, upto 60cm off the top.
A little heavier on the home run.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
They’re calling a 3>4 avalanche risk tomorrow. A fatality in the aiguille rouges today.
Take it easy.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@jbob, the person involved was a noted alpiniste and high altitude doctor. RIP.

On a happier note we had lovely spring conditions in chopped powder down the Lavancher bowl and off the Herse. And a rathzer fine lunch at the Cremerie. Welcome (finally) to spring.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
“[security communiqué - security report 05/04/2018]

🇫🇷️ message to all practitioners (Walkers, hikers, skiers, climbers...) due to weather conditions
Large volumes of snow at high altitude and warming cause a risk of avalanche on the slopes of the slopes in the coming days.
We recommend the greatest caution.
Access to the site site and parking lot is prohibited from Friday, April 6, 2018.

Just because it's dry down...:
http://youtube.com/v/IlzT6VjXw-E

Keep abreast of the conditions and contact the high mountain office / LA (04 50 53 22).

For ski hikes, tomorrow the risk will be strong, it will be hot! More info on le: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/mont-blanc/OPP03

🇬🇧️ MESSAGE TO WALKERS, HIKERS, SKIERS, CLIMBERS ... DUE TO METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Considerable amounts of snow at high altitude + warming raise fear of avalanche risk on the footpaths in the coming days.
We recommend you extrem caution.
Access to the site and parking Gaillands are prohibited from Friday, April 6, 2018.

Stay informed about the conditions and find out more at the Office De Haute Montagne / La Chamoniarde (+33 4 50 53 22 0Cool.

For ski touring, tomorrow the risk will be 4/5, the temperature increase! more info / BERA: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/mont-blanc/OPP03

Looking sketchy again tomorrow.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
https://www.planetchamonix.com/le-tour-terrorised-by-rogue-avalanche/

Read this.
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jbob wrote:
https://www.planetchamonix.com/le-tour-terrorised-by-rogue-avalanche/

Read this.


I can't stand planet chamonix - 'terrorised' - really!? rolling eyes
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@timlongs, I agree.
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https://www.chamonix.net/english/news/project-replacement-flegere-cable-car-by-gondola

Looks like the cranky old cable car at Flegere will be replaced by a gondola ready for winter 2020. Not before time.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@jbob, an astounding capacity increase from the pathetic but extraordinarily accurate 568 p/h to the much improved and plausibly estimated 2,000 p/h
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@jbob, an astounding capacity increase from the pathetic but extraordinarily accurate 568 p/h to the much improved and plausibly estimated 2,000 p/h
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@under a new name, A very welcome and substantial improvement.
I think the issue might be the parking.
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@jbob, i am suggested that it’s going to be much improved but the Mairie’s major focus is on better bussing. Which if it works...
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