Winter came in quick this week. In the Rockies many ice climbs have formed up really nicely, and people are getting after it. There are isolated wind slabs in the alpine that should be on peoples minds, and at treeline and above there is enough snow to avalanche, especially in that classic gully terrain that most ice climbs form in. Ski conditions have been reported as a mixed bag with some decent turns being found up high and a fairly supportive crust that is being dubbed the “Halloween “ crust in the mountain parks. At lower elevations if it looks lumpy, it will probably hurt as the snowpack is still thin (30-50cm at treeline). Kananaskis, Banff/Yoho/Kootenay, and Jasper Parks have all started writing avalanche bulletins on a semi-regular basis which can be accessed at avalanche.ca
Further West in Golden and Rogers Pass its as you would expect. 20cm at the highway level (1330m) in Rogers Pass with rugged valley bottom travel. In both areas there is about 80-100cm above 1900m, and 120 - 250cm on the glaciers. There are many reports of people braving the alder to get up high where skiing has been reportedly been a mixed bag of conditions. Glacier National Park is now producing daily avalanche bulletins describing snow pack conditions, which you can also find on avalanche.ca. Not much info from the Revelstoke area, but likely snow amounts and nasty valley bottom travel are similar.
This is the time of year that skiers and climbers should brush the cobwebs off, go over their avalanche safety gear, practice with their partners, and bring it into the mountains. We seem to have a very close call every year with ice climbers right around now, and most of these parties were not carrying any avalanche gear.
The Rockies should see 5-10cm over the weekend and further West its possible to see 10-15cm on the weekend with further amounts next week.
Avalanche Canada will be starting semi regular bulletins for their regions in a couple of weeks so watch their website for updates. We will be issuing another MCR report next week and that should be a wrap. Have a good weekend.
ACMG Mountain Guide