The Rockies have seen some good alpine conditions when the overnight freeze permits. In the Columbia Icefields multiple routes on Athabasca and Andromeda found good travel while its cool with snowline being encountered at around 2550m. Sags on glaciers are quite apparent and most bergschrunds are still quite passable with minimal difficulties. The main concerns listed by ascents were exposure to cornice hazards and an increase in avalanche danger as the day heats up.
Wintry day in the Rockies alpine. Never got above freezing in the alpine and was cool in the valley bottoms. Lots of signs of recent windslabs in the alpine, looked to be 20 to 30 cm thick. No reports from the Columbias but I would assume it is a similar state of affairs.
The wind is still blowing and the snow is still falling at O'Hara as of 3pm. The snow will melt fast when the sun comes out but there will certainly be a cycle of at least loose wet avalanches and rockfall before things get back into shape again.
From all reports it is currently a grey damp world in the Rockies and Columbia mountains. Information is limited but it seems that above treeline in the Rockies somewhere between 5 and 15 cms of snow have fallen. Limited reports from the Columbia Mountains show rain at Treeline and probably higher.
The new snow and wind may have built windslabs in alpine areas. In the Columbia Mountains and the Rockies any rain should be assumed to have weakened crevasse bridges, cornices and shallow snowpack areas.
In the Rockiest this past week people have been getting out between storms for alpine climbing in areas such as the Columbia Icefields. Reports from both Athabasca and Andromeda found decent travel, but it is definitely still wintery above 2800m which is true for the Rockies as a whole. An avalanche fatality in Kananaskis Country this past week is an unfortunate reminder that many features in the alpine still hold enough snow to avalanche, and that snowpack and terrain choices should be evaluated throughout the day.
The well needed current and forecasted rain seems to be widespread throughout both the Rockies and Columbia Mountains over the weekend. Although people were still enjoying good alpine climbing and skiing conditions on some of the higher peaks of the Icefields last week, these conditions will have changed dramatically.
One report of a flight over the SW coast (Squamish to Meager) observed significant melt out below treeline but lots of coverage in the alpine still with no suncups yet so likely good turns still to be had. Lingering cornice hazards with a few large er avalanche events estimated in the last 36-72 hours and interesting glide cracks.
ACMG Mountain Guide
If you don't mind the ruggedness of below treeline travel (which has been mostly dry trail walking up until this last storm), this has been a great spring for mountain adventures with good skiing in the alpine and more recently good alpine climbing to be had. Just this past week Mt. Columbia, Athabasca N Face, A-Strain, Practice Gullies and Andromeda via AA col on the Colubmia Icefields were all climbed with excellent conditions reported apart from some looming overhead crevasses in places like A-strain and Practice Gullies.
It seems to be a wet and chilly day in most of the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. Snow is probably falling somewhere in the Alpine but a quick survey of the Parks Canada remote weather stations in Glacier and along the Rockies Divide made me think it would be a grey, damp just barely freezing sort of day up high. Yukk!
Over 3 weeks of WARM weather has eaten up the snowpack below 1700m in most places except along the Divides of the Rockies and Columbias. Before this last bit of precipitation it was hard to imagine theer being a dry snow flake anywhere except maybe in a little shaded pocket somewhere just below the summit ridge of Mt. Robson or Sir Sandford.
There is currently some new snow along the Rockies Divide at Bow Summit and supposedly even 8cm at the Stanley Glacier but it is showing 6 degrees C there so it may not be fluffy pow:)