The snow line has been creeping up in the last few days on solar aspects but looking at the forecast it seems that this might change again before the weekend. Saturday looks to be bringing varying amounts of rain/snow over the entire forecast area and Sunday looks consistently dryer and cooler throughout. Precipitation amounts vary widely but at this time it looks like about 5mm in the lower Bow Valley and up to 16mm along the Divide and Columbias.
It is a slushy or moist world in the mountains right now. Snow fell across most or all of the Rockies and Columbia mountains and there is still some light rain falling west of the Rockies Divide and in the higher elevations of the Columbia Mountains as of 8am MST. It is clear in the Rockies front ranges right now but the ground and some of the rock is still wet.
The Larches are turning and my calves are burning from postholing in the new snow. Alpine snow amounts varied but between 30 to 50 cm probably remains on North facing glaciers. Less possibly on south facing glaciers and there will be a crust on the sunny snow after several warm days. This amount of snow has freshened up some routes by covering the old ice and choss and a lot of the snow blew or has melted off the alpine rock. There is (or was) some good looking dribbles of moderate angle ice forming in the O'Hara alpine.
Well, If nothing else, this summer has been consistent in that most weekends have been difficult to plan from a weather standpoint! And... this weekend appears to be following that trend.
From Revelstoke to Golden to Jasper and Canmore, the forecast seems to have either Saturday or Sunday showing a significant chance of rain. With regards to mountain conditions, the recent snow will be the greatest factor for decision making.
The weekend may not be as "doom and gloom" as some of the forecasts had been predicting but it certainly doesn't look like it will be a perfect weekend for Alpine climbing in the Rockies and Columbia Mountains.
4c and 8mm new rain at 2170m west of Rogers Pass summit this morning. Sounds somewhat similar but perhaps a little cooler along the Rockies divide with snow observed at O'Haracabove 2300m.
Sadly, there are already signs of autumn approaching in Canmore with a few trees already turning!
It looks like another challenging weekend of weather and conditions for mountain enthusiasts in the Rockies and Columbia Mountains.
This past Monday saw up to 20 cm of new snow fall above 2500 m across both ranges. This is gone on most aspects but the cool unsettled weather this week has likely preserved this snow on higher, northerly aspects. There have also been reports of this snow lingering on some glaciers making travel and crevasse assessment challenging.
After a very long spell of unsettled weather and electricity the current forecast is calling for mainly dry conditions with the chance of afternoon showers.
In the Rockies many of the ice faces are starting to look very dry and out of shape with rockfall being the major concern. Glacier travel is a mixed bag depending on the overnight freeze, and recent reports have ranged from great travel with good snow pack coverage, to relentless post holing along glacier flats. The firn line in the Columbia Icefields is around 2700m.
After a wet and snowy start to July, alpine conditions are starting to improve.
In the Rockies, alpine rock routes are in great shape generally. The high peaks like Victoria and Assiniboine still have lingering snow that may inhibit upward progress but they seem to be just around the corner from high season condition. Solid freezes have been rare this summer but as the snowpack thins out further we can be hopeful for this to occur more frequently.
In May most people were saying that we were a month ahead of schedule and now we seem to be a couple of weeks behind!
The relatively wet, unsettled and unpredictable weather has made for challenging conditions throughout the Columbia's and Rockies of late. The forecast for the coming weekend looks to be equally challenging.
Saturday is forecast to be rainy throughout the forecast area. Sunday is currently a bit of a question mark for the more eastern areas but looks like it could be a bit dryer further to the west (Rogers Pass and Revelstoke).