After a pretty fine early start to winter it is feeling like the autumn doldrums have set in. Warm enough to rock climb in the sun in very specific places and times, bits of climbable ice and mediocre skiing in high shady places. But generally it is a good day to go to a Remembrance day event and stretch the limbs for when it gets good again.
The mountain snowpack has been through a few melt freeze cycles and may have gained some more strength overall but a lot of ski quality has been lost recently as mentioned in the "Come back Winter" post. Reports like this have been very limited(especially as ski quality decreases:) but this information is likely representative of current conditions throughout the Columbia Mountains. In the Rockies it is likely a similar story. Both areas have seen some moderate to strong winds recently which isn't going to help anything.
The recent warmish temps have melted a lot of waterfall ice at all elevations except high north. The melting ice is moving some rocks around and it will require a good extended freeze to get most routes back in shape again. The recent winds will have formed some windslabs and cornices in lee features. Climbers will have to be aware of these possibilities and route find accordingly.
We all need to be aware that we don't have enough observations to make high confidence decisions as to how the current snowpack will be as a base for the winter. One of these days(hopefully:) winter will return and the snow will start to pile up on this November surface. Will the new snow stick to it and do we have a layer that will be an early season concern? No one really knows yet but stay tuned to the Public Avalanche Bulletins, the MIN and all the other great sources of info and try and share your own observations. Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country have started with early season condition reports and the Avalanche Canada Public Bulletins are, I believe, scheduled to start Nov 21st. We hope to issue one more Regional summary next week before we hand off to all these agencies for the winter.
ACMG Mountain Guide