Great alpine climbing conditions continue on the coast!
The rain last week only deposited a few centimetres of snow in the high alpine, which has now dried up in most areas in the southern part of the range. Certainly sunny alpine rock objectives will already be dry again, but there may be some dampness lingering in higher elevation shady places. In the northern part of the Coast Mountains you can probably expect up to 10cm of recent snow at the highest elevations.
It is finally time to check the weather forecast and pack a rain jacket for any mountain adventures this weekend. A couple of cold fronts moving through the region are expected to bring unsettled weather, thunderstorms and some much needed precip. While the majority of the precip will be west of the divide, a little rain and a fresh coating of snow at high elevations are expected in most areas by the end of Saturday.
The excellent conditions of late are met with change. The continued late summer heat with high freezing levels are helping the firn-snow line retreat just beyond optimal conditions and inducing rockfall. Guides in the Rockies and Columbias have been reporting rockfall events of various sizes. Most notably, a massive event on Mt. Bidle with accompanying dust cloud a few days ago. Popular zones that are changing quickly and seeing increased rockfall are the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col in the Columbia's and Mt. Lefroy in the Rockies.
The great alpine climbing conditions in the Rockies and Columbia Mountains show no signs of letting up. With cooler nights and sunny days forecast for the next several days, snow and ice sections should remain in good condition while any sun exposed rock will be warm and dry. This is definitely a good time to go climbing!
In general the current conditions for alpine climbing in the southern part of the Coast Range are awesome. It has been warm and sunny for what feels like forever, with only minor disturbances the past couple of weeks that haven’t affected conditions and expected to continue into next week. Further north towards Alaska a low pressure system is expected to bring rain and possibly snow up high this weekend.
All alpine rock routes I can think of are currently dry. There may be some precipitation today in the southern parts of the range, but this should dry up by the weekend.
Alpine conditions in the forecast region continue to be great overall. Our huge winter snowpack has held on strong providing unusually good glacier travel for this time of year. That said, this prolonged warm and dry spell is slowly taking its toll. In many places, there is not much snow left on top of the ice and having proper crampons and an ice axe are becoming mandatory.
The melting of the snow means that crevasses, bergschrunds and moats are growing and becoming harder to navigate. There will also likely be more rockfall as the snow continues to recede.
Its been one of the best summers for weather and general mountain conditions in a while. The big story is how good the snow travel is on glaciated terrain, and some areas still have lingering avalanche debris from the winter in features which extend quite far down in the alpine. These can be a nice break from the knee bashing scree if you can use them. Although the coverage is good for this time of year, crampons are becoming more and more a necessity as things dry up.
Current conditions are excellent for alpine climbing, with dry rock on all routes and enough snow left on the glaciers to make for good travel and bridged bergschrunds. Rogers Pass, the Bugaboos, the Lake Louise group, the Columbia Icefields and Mt. Robson are all in prime summer condition right now.
Amazing what a couple of weeks of warm weather can do! Approaches are all pretty much snow-free now, and while glaciers still have healthy coverage, it is getting thinner by the day, with the firn line (the boundary between between last winters snow and the lower-elevation exposed ice) getting higher and higher. Overall, in the South and the North Coast regions, glaciers and crevassed areas are still well bridged, and moats/bergschrunds are still passable, though starting to open up.