September hasn’t been typical, and this last week was a very snowy one. In the Rockies there were reports of more natural avalanches up to 2.5 (maybe larger) in the Louise group with deeper than normal fracture lines of up to 1.5meters on lee aspects. The Silverhorn avalanche reported last week that was triggered by climbers (size 3) was completely filled in today as I drove past the Columbia Icefields. There are reports of up to 1m of storm snow that has drifted deeper in certain features, and alpine travel has been “futile” according to a few reputable sources. Snow amounts are highly variable. For example one guide who was climbing the ramp route on Mt. Atahabasca probed 10cm to 2.5m of snow along a single snow feature. This shows that you have to evaluate each piece of terrain as to whether its holding snow, and if it can slide. It’s winter up high, and avalanche gear, good decision making, and experience are a must if venturing into bigger alpine terrain. Alpine water ice is somewhat in but thin and the snow isn’t making it worth the effort currently. Some people have even been skiing skied around the Mount Fay area over the last 2 days and tracks were seen at Parkers Ridge today. Yikes!
There haven’t been many reports from the Interior but its safe to say that the higher summer objectives are out, and that we are in the transition phase to fall alpine conditions. I’m sure there’s ice forming somewhere on the Howser Towers in the Bugaboos, but it might take a bit more time before the long walk is worth it.
For alpine weather, Friday and Saturday don’t look too bad, but Sunday through Tuesday look pretty dire everywhere with another system of snow, wind, and cold temperatures. The wisest choice would be to try and finish off some low elevation rock climbing projects when the weather allows. The other options are to wait patiently for the good alpine conditions that should come around at some point, or head south.