Spring is Ski Touring Season

By , March 9, 2016 9:22 am

After a slow start to the winter, conditions are looking very good now in Chamonix, with reasonable cover right to the valley bottom. Typically the weather is rather unsettled and Avalanche risk high (Cat 3) , but the snow is lovely and I’m sure there will be some lovely ski touring days once the weather and snow settle down.

Although it is possible to ski tour all winter, the season for ski touring in the big glaciated mountains starts now. Why? Because early in the winter the days are very short, it can be very cold and the Avalanche hazard is higher and less predictable. This is because early season snow can have dangerous buried layers (i.e. Depth hoar ) that tend to settle out by the spring or be made safer by layers of strong melt freeze snow on top. So in the spring the Avalanche hazard which of course still exists is often simpler. For example one is concerned about new snow bonding on old snow, windslab or a major warming event, which can destabilizethe whole snowpack down to those scary layers of early winter !!

Anyway here are a few photos of recent ski touring adventures and an escape to the finale coast (Italy ) to see the first blossoms!

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John Hawco hiking up Tete de Balme

 

John Hawco skiing our secret glade !

John Hawco skiing our secret glade !

 

Jim skiing lovely snow in the back bowls at Le tour.

Jim skiing lovely snow in secret glade at Le tour.

Jim climbing at Santa Lucia, near Albenga Italian riviera.

Jim climbing at Santa Lucia, near Albenga Italian riviera.