ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. October 29, 2021

It's been the fall that keeps on giving in the Rockies and Columbia mountains. Another week of nice weather meant activities like rock climbing were still possible. Ice climbs have continued to form and although it's early season still the early performers in the high cold places like Storm and Ranger Creek are in pretty early season good condition.

The storm that arrived yesterday is forecast to peter out tonight and the weather this weekend looks spectacular: cold and clear with overnight lows in the alpine into the negative double digits and daytime highs well below freezing. Winds are supposed to be light.

Rock climbing
Sheltered due south facing low elevation crags should be good but give them time to warm up in the morning!

Ice climbing
The next few days will be really great for ice formation with the cold temps. It's still early season so ice formations will be delicate, thin, and probably wet.

With up to 20 cm in the high alpine and some wind you can expect windslab formation, with slabs up to 40 cm or more in specific lee zones. In some isolated areas you can expect enough snow to form deadly avalanches, especially in high gully features where ice climbers might be. Consider what's above you. Below treeline and into the lower alpine there still isn't much snow, especially further east into the Rockies.

Alpine climbing
Conditions should be good for just the right kinds of alpine climbing in the next few days. But days are very short and avalanche problems might shut you down.

There's still great low elevation hiking to be had. Bring the spikes, especially if your route takes you through sun shaded trails.

Crevasses are lightly covered by new snow and wind.

Rockfall hazard will be reduced with the cold weather, although features in direct sun could spit rock with daytime melt/freeze cycles.

Skiers & boarders will have a hard time finding enough snow to ride except on glaciers where there is crevasse hazard. There will be shallow buried rocks, and snow snakes (branches and logs) everywhere to contend with. I'm not tempted.

As Marc said last week, be patient the winter will come. Meanwhile choose your mountain activity carefully and have a wonderful, and not too spooky weekend.

Tom Wolfe
Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA

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.