ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. August 5, 2021

After another hot, dry and smoky week in the Rockies and Columbia Mountains, some unsettled weather is on the horizon for most of BC and the Rockies especially on Friday and Sunday. Forecast precipitation amounts vary considerably over the region so keep checking local conditions, but expect some showers or thundershowers and slightly cooler temperatures before a ridge of high pressure is slated to start building again early next week.

Alpine rock is currently dry. Last week's snow has melted away, and many high elevation rock routes on peaks are getting done in good conditions (Cavell, the Goodsirs, Alberta, Assiniboine, Sir Donald, Howser Towers, etc). The unsettled weather over the weekend may change things for the short term and possibly even drop a few flakes of snow at higher elevations on Sunday, but things should dry out quickly again next week.

Glaciers and snow/ice faces continue to melt rapidly with firn lines above 2800 m in most places. Bare ice is present up to ridgelines on many glaciers, and open bergschrunds and crevasses are common. The bare ice has made lower angle glacier travel very straight forward (i.e. avoid the holes :), while steeper slopes and routes requiring crevasse or schrund crossings may be more tricky than normal or require some ice climbing. With some exceptions in places that are not exposed to rockfall, steep snow and ice routes are generally in poor shape and will remain so until things cool down.

Expect to require steel crampons for glacier travel unless you have very good recent beta, and keep a very careful eye out for rockfall hazard from recently exposed/melted out slopes or perched rocks on steep ice slopes. In particular the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col is mostly ice and rock by now with fairly frequent rockfall keeping most people away from it until conditions improve, and a report from the Abbot Pass area mentioned rockfall from Lefroy travelling a long ways down the approach to the pass.

For the next few days it looks like it will be worth packing a rain jacket/emergency tarp, having a plan to retreat as needed if the showers arrive, and keeping a close watch on any thunder storm development in your area. If things stay dry it could still be a good weekend for a quick climb up high, but there is more uncertainty in the forecast than there has been in the past few weeks.

Good luck managing the ongoing smoke, don't even think about lighting a fire, and have a great week in the mountains!

Conrad Janzen
ACMG Mountain Guide

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.