Alpine climbing season has cooled from last week...for the better.
Wet and cooler temperatures have been the pattern of the week and leading through the coming weekend. Far more typical conditions to be expected for this time of year. Generally, the system has been broken with periods of sun or strong precip. A dusting of new snow to 1900m has in most places melted but might still be found in some deep, dark, high places.
It is that time of year again to start up the MCR summary machine, and we will keep it running through the summer and into the late fall.
Avalanches and cornice collapses in all regions are still the biggest hazards during this transition period, and should be monitored as conditions vary dramatically through the day. Avalanche gear while skiing or climbing should still be worn in avalanche terrain that still has snow on it, even though our minds are shifting to summer.
This past week has been wintery in the west, with overnight lows in the alpine nearing -20°C and little storms bringing in small but constant amounts of snow in the Rockies and Columbia mountain ranges. In the Rockies, treeline snow depths are now above threshold for avalanches (50 cm+) and in the Rogers Pass area you can expect up to double that. Alpine snow depths are over a meter in the Rockies and over 150 cm around Rogers Pass.
Another beautiful autumn week in the Rockies and Interior BC, but looks like we're returning to a more typical colder weather pattern in the days to come. If snowfall amounts in the high Rockies and further west are substantial we will be back to early winter mode again with avalanche concerns rising back to the top of our list of hazards for mountain travel.
The keen interest everyone had in skiing last week has precictably tapered off with the drier weather this week. Warmer temperatures and wind have resulted in not the most enticing snowpack for even diehard skiers.
The long range forecast calls for more dry weather across western Canada into next week with rising temperatures. Clear skies and overnight lows in the alpine of well below freezing (possibly down to -15 C), however, mean that mixed alpine and even ice climbing could be coming into good condition very soon.