/ First week of April in the alps

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Roberttaylor - on 17 Oct 2012
I've got some time off then and was thinking of heading to the alps. I'd really like to do something like Swiss Route on the Courtes or Chere Couloir, what experiences have people had climbing then?

I realise there is likely to be a lot of snow kicking about and it might be a bit chilly up top.

R
HarryB - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Skis will be very useful, conditions are generally better tho, and more stable weather!
Big Lee - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor:

It's as good a time as any to go for Swiss Route.

Skis are best, but snow shoeing possible otherwise.

The Argentiere hut books up during this time as everyone is doing the Haute route. Book ahead or be prepared to camp.
Erstwhile on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor:
First week in April seems very early in the season for the Swiss R. ... thinking for one thing about the descent, which is pretty avalanche prone at the best of times, me seems to recall.You might be lucky with conditions, but hard to plan.
Chere could be more feasible. There are other ice/mixed routes right on the Midi these days (aren't there ? Only seen them in videos.)
Will_he_fall - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Did the Swiss route during the last week of March two years ago- was in good condition and seemed to be getting a lot of ascents. I think this is a pretty good (and probably the 'normal') time of year for this route and other similar routes in the Argentiere basin (Droites, Verte etc.).

Things like the Chere and other ice/mixed routes round on the east face of the tacul are also quite likely to be in good nick, but as already stated ski's will most likely be a necessity.

HTH,

Will
Erstwhile on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Will_he_fall:
> (In reply to Roberttaylor)
>
> probably the 'normal' time of year for this route and other similar routes in the Argentiere basin (Droites, Verte etc.).
>

Blimey - things have clearly changed over the last 25 years. Global warming, gear, or attitudes?
We used to do those routes in September when they had cleared of winter snow but had started to freeze well again.
Over here in the eastern Alps I don't think many folk do classic NF ice walls in March or April (apart from the odd freak winter) because there is simply too much avalanche danger. Normal target time is mid May through June.

pawelx - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor: we did the Chere in February in a day from the valley, approaching on rented snow shoes.
JXM - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Erstwhile:

> Over here in the eastern Alps I don't think many folk do classic NF ice walls in March or April (apart from the odd freak winter) because there is simply too much avalanche danger. Normal target time is mid May through June.

Really? My understanding is that a route like Pallavicini Rinne on Grossglockner is quite popular in March and April because the conditions are best and most stable at that time. Of course not after a big dump of snow. I am considering that route, so if it is generally better to do it later in the season I would like to know before I book flights.
Erstwhile on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to JXM:
> (In reply to Erstwhile)
>
> [...]
>
> Really? My understanding is that a route like Pallavicini Rinne on Grossglockner is quite popular in March and April because the conditions are best and most stable at that time.

Glockner group is a bit off my radar, but this is cited on http://www.summitpost.org/pallavicinirinne/156198
"Best time: Right after the opening of Hochalpenstrasse (mostly start of May)."
Which makes sense to me - the group is a a bit offset from the main Alpine ridge chain so you might expect it to stabilize a bit before our local stuff, with our "season" starting mid May (nominally).
I could be completely wrong though ...

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jamesturnbull - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Roberttaylor: we did the swiss route on the courtes and ginat on the droites in feb this year. good nick(ish) descent on the courtes was fine and stable. lots of snow on the south side of the droites. hard work. it was -30 and more in the wind on the courtes though. harsh. april sounds like a great time to go to me. im going!

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