Climbing conditions in the mountains over the last week have been relatively good with decent travel on snow and periods of dry rock for those who could take advantage of the windows of good weather.
The snow has melted off most steep South faces in the Columbia Mountains. Ascents of South facing routes on Gimli and South Howser Tower have been completed though plenty of snow remains on the N facing descents. Many of the regular climbing routes in the Bugaboos and Rogers Pass are seeing traffic with reports of good early season conditions, though rock fall remains a concern as snow patches melt out. Glacier travel has been good in the Columbia’s with some ice patches beginning to show up at lower elevations, and some crevasse bridges beginning to sag.
In the Rockies the front ranges are dry and in good shape. Ascents of peaks like Victoria, Huber, Fay and the East Ridge of Temple have been completed following cool overnight temperatures, though rock fall out of melting snow patches is a concern. Snow travel has been good when it is cold but has deteriorated quickly with warm temperatures, and loose wet avalanches are still occurring at high elevations. As well many cornices are drooping and large, and should be given a wide berth until they finish their seasonal migration to the valley bottom. A few bergschrunds are starting to open and thinning snow means some crevasse bridges are beginning to show signs of weakness.
Avalanche Canada describes the forecast for the weekend and into next week as “a parade of upper lows and swirling trough lines, with many showers in our future.” This will put a damper on things and getting onto longer alpine routes may have to wait for a bit. Expect new snow and ice at upper elevations and poor freezes at lower elevations making snow travel more difficult. Lower elevation climbs, routes with an easy retreat, and simple snow and ice routes with little overhead hazard may be the best bet for the next while until the weather improves.