Not too much to report at the moment. The “melt” continues, we are losing around 50cm of snowpack per week at 2300 meters (excluding very sheltered north faces). I’ve not actually been out due to a bad cold.
There has been some serious avalanche activity in the afternoons. A skier was almost caught by a large avalanche in the vallon de Bonnepierre in the Ecrins. Due to route finding problems they were descending steep, south facing slopes at 17h30! The skier literally escaped by the skin of his teeth as one ski was dragged away in the slide.
A group of three ski tourers were caught by a slide above Champagny-en-Vanoise around midday. They were skiing the Grand Bec at 2500m altitude in the plan des Gouilles sector when one of the skiers was carries 400 meters. Luckily he remained on the surface of the slide but suffered a broken leg.
Henry Schniewind also witnessed this monster in l’espace Killy.
The spring avalanche activity seems more marked this year. I have two ideas. The April temperatures have been unusually hot, more like June. We have not had the slow build up and purging of slopes. Also the snowpack was absolutely rotten from the long anticyclone. This was then overloaded in some places in March which caused the peak in slab avalanches but the rest of the snow is going to need some substantial freeze0-thaw to turn into stable spring (neve) type snow. Even though 10C overnight temperatures can produce a refreeze if the sky is clear (snow is a black box and can radiate heat even if the air temperature is positive) the refreeze is superficial, confined to the top 5cm of the snowpack. You need to get your tours in early and be back down well before noon if you want to ski spring snow and not put yourself at risk.
Hopefully the return to cooler, unsettled weather will help the stabilization process and bring a bit of fresh above 2000m… there is not much left below that altitude.