Alpine conditions are currently changing in the Rockies and Columbia's as a strong Westerly storm moves through the region today (Friday). Ridge top winds in the Rockies are in the strong to extreme range and accompanied by a few cm's of new snow, with a slightly lower wind speeds and more snow in the Columbia's. It is certainly winter in the alpine!
It feels like we skipped October and fast-forwarded straight into November! Current and forecast weather are pretty cool for the foreseeable future, and the weekend looks like a mixed bag in terms of precipitation, depending on where you are. It will be quite a bit wetter the farther west and north you go. The Bow Valley will get a bit of a break this weekend with Sunday shaping up to be pretty nice.
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.