After a pretty fine early start to winter it is feeling like the autumn doldrums have set in. Warm enough to rock climb in the sun in very specific places and times, bits of climbable ice and mediocre skiing in high shady places. But generally it is a good day to go to a Remembrance day event and stretch the limbs for when it gets good again.
Warm weather over the last couple of days in the Rockies has put a hamper on any waterfall ice climbing potential. Some climbs way up in the alpine may survive the heat but overall most climbs are not in. In fact on the front ranges it's been great rock climbing conditions. For those venturing into the bigger mountains to ski and climb, there is roughly 60-70cm at tree line near the divide and about 100cm in the alpine. Some wind events from the past few days have reduced the ski quality and added isolated windslabs to the problem list.
Perhaps because of the cold, grey weather and scattered snowfalls there is even less reports than usual for this time of year. After some sleuthing this morning it sure seems like we have had a recent avalanche cycle in the big mountains and that may continue over the weekend. Lots of September/October snowfalls and some recent high winds so it shouldn't be a big surprise.
Well, it is kinda cold, kinda grey and there will be some precipitation over the weekend.
Not enough snow to ski except on the sheltered glaciers where the light will likely be flat or non-existent and the crevasses are not well bridged.
The rock will likely be cold and maybe damp, maybe icy.
There may be ice forming in the alpine but it may be hard to scope in the greyness.
Low elevation scrambling, drytooling and climbing gyms have some merit. Eating turkey and giving thanks for all the excellent conditions we sometimes enjoy has some merit.
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.