With some crazy hot weather in the forecast it looks like the summer is here in force.
There’s still lots of snow in the mountains here at the Coast. A few weeks behind where we typically are by this time of the year. That’s great in some areas where the snow allows for quick and easy passage over talus and scree and good coverage on glaciers. However, it also means that there’s still lots of movement in the alpine with lots of rock fall and loose wet avalanches during the heat of the day.
South and West facing trails are generally free of snow up to about 1500m while those sheltered from the sun have snow down around 1200m or lower and the snow surface hasn’t started to develop any sun cups yet. Of course things will be changing fast with the forecasted temperatures.
South facing alpine rock routes like those on Habrich are ready to go with little to no snow on the approaches and dry rock above. Sky Pilot is also in great shape with lots of snow from the ridge right down to the trails making travel quick an easy while the upper rock pitches are clear.
The Tantalus area has a lot of snow and so some of the rock routes are not quite in condition yet though they will be soon with this warm weather. The upper East face of Dione is still covered in a thin layer of snow, as is the West face of Serratus. On the other hand the snow and ice routes in the area, like the North face of Serratus, are in great condition with good snow coverage on the glacier and open few bergschrunds to work around.
Other classic snowy alpine routes like Garibaldi and Wedge are in great condition for climbing. On Garibaldi the bergschrund can be crossed on both the right at the left at the moment. Of course the low snowline can make the approach into those areas difficult with lots of post-holing unless they’re done early in the am after a good overnight refreeze.
Wet avalanches, failing cornices and rock fall can be expected during the heat of the day, especially with the incredible heatwave we will be experiencing this weekend. Alpine starts after a good overnight recovery/refreeze will be the name of the game.
The glaciers are in great shape with lots of snow bridging the crevasses and bergschrunds. However, they will be starting to weaken and open up with the warm weather.
And at the lower elevations the rivers will be running deep and fast and there’s lots of bears with new cubs running around.
Stay cool and have a great weekend!