The hot and dry conditions over the last month have rapidly reduced the snow coverage in many areas, and this is probably the main change over the past week. The result of this is increased rockfall from steep ice faces or couloirs, and the increased complexity of glacier travel as crevase bridges melt out and bergschrunds open up.
Reports from Rogers Pass, the Columbia Icefields, the Lake Louise group and Wapta all refer to more ice travel and very high snow lines, though snow travel is still pretty good where the snow remains. The Hector Glacier as an example is almost all bare ice.
Having said this, some popular access routes like the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col are still holding up well for early morning travel as of a few days ago, with most groups avoiding places like this in warm afternoons when the rockfall increases.
Alpine rock routes remain in great shape on all aspects, with lots of climbing activity in all the mountain ranges over the past weeks of stable weather.
Looking forward, the main change over the next week is the arrival of more unstable weather with thundershowers possible on many of the days, and some days that may be wet through much of the day. A good look at the weather forecast and a careful eye on the daytime buildup of thunderstorms will be required. Keep your retreat options in mind if storms arrive sooner than anticipated.
The days are also cooling down to more seasonal temeratures and sunset is arriving a lot faster. Keep a headlamp and an extra jacket handy in addition to packing the rain gear/tarp over the next week. The cooler temps may also mean the snow slopes are harder in the morning and crampons may be needed in more places.
Enjoy the final week of August in the mountains!
ACMG Mountain Guide