ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains July 4, 2019

In case you hadn’t noticed it has been the summer of temperamental weather so far, and is currently slashing rain in Banff as I write.

In the Rockies reports have stated that it is typical summer conditions up into the lower alpine, with mainly bare rock. Alpine areas in the Louise group and the Columbia Icefields still have over 1m+ of snow which has provided good coverage on glaciers and over bergshrunds when there is a good freeze. The flip side to this good coverage are many lingering cornices that would normally have shed by now, and the lingering concern for avalanches. There have been isolated reports of avalanches on the ramp route of Athabasca (size 2) and the Skyladder route on Andromeda (size 2) on July 1 due to a rain event.

In the interior it is pretty much the same deal. Prior to this precipitation the Bugaboos were climbing well on some of the "normal" routes such as Sunshine Crack and the Kain route on Bugaboo. The Bugaboo / Snowpatch col was in good condition with crevasses well covered. Many of the Applebee camp sites are still covered in snow and the larger routes such as the Howsers are out of shape. The residual winter snowline in Rogers Pass is 2000m and many of the regular routes on mountains such as Uto, Tupper and Rogers Peak were being climbed. Sir Donald is still snowy on the North side and the West face bypass is too snowy to use. You can bet it is snowing both in the Bugaboos and Rogers Pass right now and most of these routes will be out of condition for the next week.

In all regions, guided reports are consistently saying that they are avoiding gullies and exposed avalanche slopes as the day heats up. With the current rain expect even more snow at upper elevations which could slide now and especially when the sun comes out, whenever that may be! The other big concern is for the abundant natural rockfall generated from melting snow patches on chossy ledges and in gullies.

The forecast is pretty grim for the next few days. Freezing levels look to be around 3000m so expect snow in the high mountains. The best bet will be lower elevation rock climbing when the sun pops out. Once the precipitation stops I would want to give snow and ice routes a couple days to settle any new snow and wait for a good overnight freeze.

Stephen Holeczi
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.