ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. June 25, 2021

The summer alpine climbing season in the Rockies and Columbias has been coming into shape and with the coming heat wave things will dry off and change quickly.

The main hazards in the mountains right now are mostly heat related. Snow patches are melting fast and spitting rocks as a result. Loose wet avalanches or cornice failures can be expected on steep snow slopes with the heat. Glacier snow bridges are starting to sag in thinner snowpack areas and will be suspect without a good overnight freeze. Creeks are still flowing high and fast, limiting approaches to some areas and under cutting snow patches in gullies which could lead to an unpleasant fall into a creek.

Snow travel has been quite good in most areas till today, but may deteriorate with warm overnight temps. Treeline travel in some areas still involves a lot of post-holing in the remaining winter snow on North aspects. If you do plan for steep snow travel in the next week get up really, really early, use the alpine weather stations to help determine if things are frozen, and be prepared with a plan B if it is too hot. Still lots to do though...

In Rogers Pass the snowline is up to ~1900 m with most ridge routes now climbable, though expect to encounter snow patches at higher elevations or on shaded aspects. Snow travel has been good up until today. The S Ridges on Tupper, the NW Ridge on MacDonald, and N Ridge on Eagle have all been climbed recently. The ridges on the Swiss Peaks, Uto and the NW Ridge of Sir Donald all look passable with some snow patches, and the glaciers remain well covered. ***Make sure to check the Park Canada trail reports to ensure the bridges are in place on the access trail into the Sir Donald and Asulkan basins. The bridges are currently out and the creek crossings are not a good idea without them.

In the Bugaboos the trail up to the Kain Hut is mostly snow free, though you will encounter some snow before the hut and snow at the campgrounds. Lower elevation South facing routes in the Crescent Spires are in shape and higher elevation routes are drying fast. Glaciers are still well covered for approaches.

The Rockies have seen a bunch of climbing on snow and ice routes in the Columbia Icefields and other peaks like Aberdeen in the Lake Louise area over the past weeks, but with the upcoming heat it may be time to look at rock objectives. Mt Louis and Castle Mountain have seen recent traffic on the solar aspects and most rock routes and ridges on the Eastern slopes of the Rockies that have some solar exposure are now in shape. Still snow down to treeline on North aspects so expect snow patches on many higher elevation trails/approaches and on shaded gullies and faces at higher elevations.

Slather on the sunscreen, drink lots of water and enjoy the abrupt arrival of summer heat 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.