The last weeks have provided a wild difference in conditions depending on where you are on the Coast. It really couldn't be more different between South and North Coasts. I've been working in the Cambrian Range near Stewart where it feels like it hasn't stopped raining in August yet! Roads are washed out, creeks are flooded, glaciers and snow are melting rapidly and I've been wearing long underwear every day. Meanwhile on the South Coast the heat has been record breaking! It's hard to believe it's all one province sometimes.
It continues to be an alpine summer to remember with good conditions reported in all zones and for all mountain pursuits. There is a caveat, though: depending on the weather, not every activity or route is in shape every day.
Last week ended with some stormy weather, which gave us precipitation in the form of snow at higher elevations. As we entered this week, the hot weather returned, although there was some electrical activity in the afternoons and evenings.
There have seldom been such widespread good conditions for August in recent memory. In the past week, I have climbed glacier routes, alpine rock, and been hiking. Everything was in good shape.
The only fly in the ointment has been some fickle weather. Although there has been some sun and warmth, especially at lower elevations, there have also been showers and low freezing levels which have given dustings of snow to the peaks.
The coming week looks promising for the most part.
The last few weeks have brought warm sunny weather drying out rock routes, and melting out snow and ice routes. A cold front is brining mixed amounts of precipitation and thunderstorms across the ranges today, with the possibility of snow on the highest peaks!
Forecasts are talking about sunny skies returning Sunday, and temps warming back up by mid week.
The past few weeks have flown by at an exhilarating pace as mountain enthusiasts have enjoyed alpine conditions at their finest. Long, hot days for weeks with only occasional cloudy disturbances have given us the "green light" for many objectives and have made anything feel possible and, even, probable as we've stretched our legs, lengthened our strides and basked in the glory mountain pursuits provide. Last winter's prodigious snowfall still lingers at lower-than-usual elevations and has, so far, kept the glaciers in relatively easy conditions.
The mountains have flipped the switch, and we are in full summer mode. A wide variety of routes are in good condition.
Sun and heat blessed us in the past week. A few afternoon showers and thunderstorms occurred in some areas but, overall, strong high pressure dominated our weather.
There are two blips to keep an eye out for in the coming week. The first occurs over the next few days, with afternoon instability creating showers and thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, before stabilizing on Sunday. The instability could be worse in western areas.
Summer is trying to make an appearance but the Rocky and Columbia Mountains are still snowier than normal for this time of year.
Despite the snowy tops, the weather has been more summery in the past week. Valley bottom temperatures over the last few days have reached the high 20s in the Rockies and warmer than that in the interior. This hasn't always translated into balmy temps up high though, today I had to layer up on a Kananaskis summit.
Feels like summer is finally in the air!
This season is already shaping up to be a fickle weather season, with lots of discrepancy's in forecasts, and almost daily thunderstorms arriving at all hours, morning, mid day and evening. Most forecasts are calling for summer temps into the 30 deg valley bottom arriving over the weekend and freezing lines shooting up to the top of even the tallest of peaks.
It doesn't quite feel like summer yet in the Rocky and Columbia Mountains.
About a week ago we had significant amounts of precipitation, most of which fell as snow above 2500 m. Since then it has been a mix of weather with a little bit of everything.
One constant has been inaccurate weather forecasts - not that I blame weather forecasters for this. The nature of the recent patterns mean predicting the timing of the systems that come through has been difficult. It sounds as if this trend could continue.
We are hitting our stride with current alpine conditions in the Coastal Ranges! Those brave (or foolish) enough to endeavour forwards despite unfavourable weather have, for the most part, been rewarded for our efforts. Another week of showery and unsettled weather has continued to prolong a rapid decay of the alpine snowpack and glaciers, which has made travel conditions fast and firm on the way up and great for quick glissades back down.