ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains issued November 3rd, 2017

It's been a stormy week, as everyone knows whether they've been into the alpine or not (mostly not from the sounds of it), with precipitation amounts between 20-70 cm.

In the Columbia and Rockies winter-like conditions exist with a snowpack depth ranging from 50 up to 120+ cm above 2000 m. Below 2000 m coverage tapers off. In the Rockies, and especially east of the divide very cold temperatures down to -25 C and winds from the north have been reported.

Sluffs in steep gullies up to size 2.0 have been observed, and I would expect that slab avalanches in the right terrain would be expected right now up to size 2.0 although reports have been very limited since the storm started.

As for ski conditions: "It's the time of the year when, whenever it rains, you know that someone, somewhere bushwhacked kms of slide alder to find that one patch of windblown snow on which to hockeystop for that perfect instabanger - Lee Lau". Enough said.

Ice climbing reports so far have not been very positive -- rumours of someone scratching their way up Sinus Gulley, or mysterious instagram posts of greyish ice for example (see photos). But the recent cold temps of course will change that quickly now. The main concern apart from lack of ice is avalanche hazard especially in gully features below start zones. Size 2 sluffs are really serious business for ice climbers, who need to really consider their exposure to avalanche terrain carefully, and carry avalanche equipment -- beacon, probe, shovel.

Crevasse hazard will be another one to carefully consider when you plan your next trip up high. The recent snow amounts above treeline will make skiing pretty irresistible to the hard core early season crowd, and the glaciers by now will appear to be well covered, especially in the days following the storm. Be very cautious, probe frequently, and travel with the rope on, especially on the uptrack.

This was scheduled to be the last MCR Regional Summary of the season. However, considering that Avalanche Canada's bulletin doesn't start until November 24th and the fact that winter has firmly arrived we may put out a few more.

Tom Wolfe
Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA

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.