Alpine climbing season has taken a quick holiday… but is returning soon!
With the past week bringing cooler temperatures and almost continual precipitation, including snow down to 1800m, have made for challenging conditions to access the high alpine. Those who braved the weather found soft snow, however, still good travel and minimal snow covering rock routes above 1800m. Valley trails have continued to shape up, with the snow line creeping up to 1500m on solar slopes and 1200m on polar. Once the sunny weather returns next week conditions will turn around quickly. With a good overnight freeze, travel on glaciers and snow slopes should be great and more alpine rock routes will come into shape. The usual Coast range areas such as: Sky Pilot, Watersprite Lake, Tricouni and the Lions have continued to see traffic. Backountry users are encountering snow at tree line and varying travel conditions depending on recent precipitation and temperature.
Garibaldi, Joffre and Cerise Creek Parks are still closed. These parks house a lot of the mountaineering and hiking objectives in the Sea to Sky. Therefore, our options are still limited for the time being.
*Please make sure to do your homework on what objectives are open and respect public health authority and local communities.
With limited travel in the mountains both from park closure and the weather we have limited information on how the snowpack has been behaving. That being said, I am still choosing to keep the potential of deep slab avalanches in the back of my mind, until proven otherwise. Approaching via large planar slopes and an early start and finish would be wise, both for optimized snow travel and reducing the risk of avalanches.
Continue to be observant of overhead hazards, such as cornices and snowmelt generated rock fall. Furthermore, the recent precipitation and fresh snow on rock faces will also increase rock fall hazard.
Glaciers appear to be holding lots of snow, and bergschrunds for the most part are still filled in. With the recent rain these will likely start to break down, and we will see more open crevasses and bergschrunds in the following days.
ACMG Mountain GuideA