Apologies for the late arrival of this week's summary.
The long-run on extended summer conditions has sadly come to an end. This weekend marks a distinct shift from Aug-tober to October, and to more typical fall weather and mountain conditions.
It looks like the east slope of the Rockies might still provide dry enough conditions for part of Saturday but by late afternoon the entire forecast region (west to Revelstoke and north to Jasper) is forecast to be subject to precipitation. The freezing level will drop to well below 2000m bringing snow and moderate to strong southwesterly winds.
Total snow accumulation amounts (above ~ 1700m) for the weekend vary from about 15cm in the east and as much as 30-40cm in the west and north. This amount of snow, along with the forecast wind is a perfect recipe for wind slab formation in the alpine. It will also likely be enough new snow to make navigating crevasses quite challenging.
The long range forecast looks snowy and cool for the comming week as well. This will serve to further increase avalanche hazard in the alpine in most of the region.
*There has already been a report of a sizable slab avalanche on Mount Athabasca's Ramp Route .
It is time to shift our mindset to winter hazards in the alpine.
My focus for the weekend will be to stay at lower elevations and dodge rain showers when possible. Rock climbing on sunny crags might still be good and catching the last of the fall colours on lower elevation hikes or bike rides.
Enjoy the change of wardrobe!
ACMG Mountain Guide