Winter is knocking hard at the door this weekend with a significant storm watch. An arctic front will push cold air through through the Rockies and will be mixing with a low in Washington to produce colder than usual temperatures and locally 20-30cm in alpine regions in the Waterton, Kananasaskis, Canmore and Banff regions. Temperatures will go below zero for the next few days and most objectives both rock and alpine will most likely be shut down until the weather settles.
As I write this summary there are stars shimmering through the thick Hemlock canopy surrounding our tiny house, implying a sense of clarity and peace. Shrieking winds raging through mountain passes, rime-coated clothing and ropes, and freshly hidden crevasses all seem like parts of a distant past...but this brief calm belies my recent experiences in the Coast mountains.
Autumn is in full swing in the Rockies and Columbias. Mornings are crisp, afternoons are warm in the sun, the trees are colourful, and if there is precipitation it is generally in the form of snow at higher elevations.
Last weekend was cold and wet with snow in alpine areas in both mountain ranges. Since then it has been variable, running the gamut from sunny to cloudy to showery precipitation.
Looks like the nice weather will continue through Saturday with unsettled weather moving in on Saturday evening and hanging around until Monday. Freezing lines are going to be lower than the last week, with snow expected on the higher peaks in the ranges. Up to 5cm of snow above 3000m.
Looks like some more unsettled weather for the weekend. Current forecasts predict that it will be generally drier the farther East and South you travel and that Sunday should be drier than Saturday. Freezing levels will remain at or above 3000m.
Overall, conditions in the alpine continue to be better than what has become the new 'normal' for this time of year. Glaciers are in relatively good shape and many snow slopes, like the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col and the Swiss Glacier route on mount Rogers are hanging in there but starting to show signs of deterioration.
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