It's been a slow start to the winter season. Most people I've spoke to are OK with that. Often when you get big dumps of snow early season it results in a basal weak layer that causes problems later on. Of course, predicting what will happen in a week or two is usually futile, let alone in a month or two. But so far so good.
It's been the fall that keeps on giving in the Rockies and Columbia mountains. Another week of nice weather meant activities like rock climbing were still possible. Ice climbs have continued to form and although it's early season still the early performers in the high cold places like Storm and Ranger Creek are in pretty early season good condition.
Much of October seems to have come as a consolation prize for enduring several weeks of smoke this summer. It looks like this will be coming to an end over the next few days.
The unseasonably warm temperatures continue on Friday, with freezing levels rising as high as 3000m. The western edge of the Columbia Mountains will see precipitation starting midday Friday and lasting through the weekend. The farther east and south you go, the higher the likelihood of drier conditions. Precipitation amounts and timing vary significantly by region.
Although it’s officially been Fall for some weeks now, we are really settling into the Coastal autumn routine with regards to weather and overall mountain conditions. We seem to exist by the hour, with heavy rain at one point followed by sunny periods the next, bookended by pre-frontal winds and post-frontal “shmoo.” Heat waves and multi-month droughts seem long forgotten, existing only ephemerally in nostalgic memories.
After a bit of a sunny break today, unsettled weather is forecast to move in bringing cooler and wetter conditions to the northern and central areas of the Rockies and Columbia mountains over the weekend, especially at higher elevations. Southern and eastern regions will stay drier and warmer, but there is potential for strong winds up high throughout the weekend in most areas.
It is transition time in the mountains. Friday and Saturday look like nice weather days in both the Rockies and Columbias with mainly clear skies and temperatures up to 15C. Some models are calling for precipitation to start Sunday to the West of the divide and along Highway 93 North to the Icefields. All areas besides the front ranges are expecting unsettled weather for most of next week, with snow in the alpine, rain at treeline and below, and cooling temperatures. The front ranges will likely escape most of this moisture.