Hey, anyone got any suggestions please, I have 6 days in January I want to walk in French Alps. Fine with Axe and crampons but will have a heavy bag (5 days food etc) so not going to be able to go too steep. Any suggestions welcome!
yeh you wont get around without snow shoes or (preferably) skis at that time of year. even in the valley the walking trails will be too icy or snowy.
I'll never forget the February when I thought in my youthful enthusiasm that it would be nice to spend a week with a tent hiking in the Black Forest (max height ca. 1500m). I spent every day wading through snow, vowed every evening to stay to the valleys, and got wrecked again the next day trying to climb some minor hill.
You'd be some 2000m+ higher. Good luck!
Most of the resorts have a network of prepared and patrolled snow shoe trails. Going off piste could be very hard going. Your talk of carrying days of food suggests you plan to camp/bivvy/snow hole. Take a warm bag...
January is also probably the worst month for avalanche risk, compared to later in the season hugely more areas could contain weak layers. If it hasn't snowed for a couple of weeks then it might be fine, but I would struggle to plot a multi day walk for January in the Alps that I could have confidence in the safety of if there was any recent snow
> Snow shoes or skis!
Snowshoes have revolutionised my xmas holidays visiting relatives in Bavaria. To the OP - find out if you're able to rent / borrow some in the area, if not then buy some. Look up skitouring and snowshoeing routes and use those as you'll be able to find out avalanche dangers. Although my summer walking revolves around open countryside locations to avoid humid forests with no views the opposite is true for my winter stuff - forests mean I don't generally need to worry about avalanche risk, and they're often a 'winter wonderland' to walk in.
I'd second that. Check out the Sierra Nevada near Granada. You can climb to over 3000 metres or if the weather is bad stay lower on many many great trails...
The Sierra Nevada need to be treated with a lot of respect and caution. They may lack the grandeur of the Alps, but they are still big mountains. Rather like the Cairngorms except that they are about 3 times as high and large. Apart from the ski resort road there is no quick easy way up into them or off them. There is virtually no shelter on them and they are susceptible to sudden and severe winter storms. Sadly they have an historical record of tragic deaths from exposure/hypothermia, and these have included British parties caught out on them in the winter. They should be treated with respect, and parties venturing onto them in winter need to be as well prepared as parties going into the Cairngorms in winter, not only in terms of experience, winter clothing, food, survival shelters etc, but also navigational skills , and access to reliable weather forecasts.
> I am familiar with them in winter
The OP might not be. And we're trying to give advice to the OP...
I went up them in late summer once about 3 years ago, we experienced very heavy rain lower down, then later on fairly dense mist/fog high up. Snow was still lying on the ground, even around the refugio. My main memory was that the refugio was cold! We sat inside near the small open fire in our down jackets to keep warm.