ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. October 4th, 2018

Winter arrived on the East slope of the Rockies with a bang on Tuesday. Snowfall was from 20-40cm depending up on location and it tapered slightly as you went west. Very little wind observed with the storm but as is usual for this time of year we have very few observations from treeline and the alpine during storms. It would be a safe assumption that there has been some wind effect in the alpine and dramatic solar radiation effects on S and W aspects at least today.

First impressions are that this new snow has bonded fairly well. People are certainly getting after it skiing some fairly bold lines for this much fresh snow in early October:) The link below should get you to a photo of a very fresh avalanche that most skiers would consider relevant to their well being.
We really don't have enough direct observations of the snowpack yet to know if there is any layers of concern. In the long term this early season snow may just end being some early season facets in alpine areas but only observations over time will tell us that story.
In the short term in the Rockies, rocks and small loose wet avalanches are coming off the low elevation rock faces and ice is forming at higher elevations and in shady gullies. Glacier travel is probably very slow going today and all this snow has probably mostly just hidden crevasses rather than bridging them

It is a much different story west of the Rockies. It looked and sounded like a nice day rock climbing in the low elevations of the Columbia Mountains with some sunny breaks at Rogers pass. Not as much snow on the ground in the Columbias and very little in the Kootenay Boundary region.

Of course the usual caveats about early season skiing hazards apply. Falling or being caught in an avalanche on the thinly veiled rocks and shrubbery early season is much more potentially harmful than the same scenario with more snow on the ground. Still, there is some good looking turns to be had if you do some good looking around for the right features to turn on.

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.