ACMG Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains. September 13, 2018

When I left Lake Louise this afternoon it was snowing close to 3 cm an hour in the village, ice cleats were useful on the trails at treeline, and the snow plows were out on the 93 N, so what follows is more of a snow report than a climbing summary...though conditions have been pretty good recently.

The last week saw ascents of snow and ice routes like the Emperor Face on Mt Robson, the North face of Stanley, Mt Bryce, Mt Athabasca, and Mt Fay, all in pretty good fall conditions.

This all changed in the last 24 hrs with a lot of snow falling at upper elevations. Reports from Glacier National Park were of 4 cm of new snow at 1900 m Thursday morning and significantly more in the alpine. The Jasper area had new snow in town and 10-30 cm in the alpine with strong winds. Reports from Abbott Pass near Lake Louise were of 10-20 cm new snow Thursday morning with drifts up to 2 m deep, some cornice development, and significantly more snow by the afternoon with moderate to strong winds.

With 10-30+ cm of new snow up high, avalanches are now possible at upper elevations. If you venture onto steep snow slopes, check the bond between the new snow and any previous layers, watch for wind loaded pockets near ridge crests, and consider bringing avalanche rescue gear for alpine snow and ice climbs. The new snow will likely bond well with time but needs some warmer temps to do so.

Glaciers are now covered by enough snow to hide small to medium (big enough for a person) sized crevasses, so frequent probing will be necessary and slower travel a result.

All but the low elevation rock routes and trails are currently snow covered throughout the area, so be prepared for slippery hiking and scrambling, longer than normal trip times, and colder than normal temperatures over the weekend.

It could be a good weekend to get out dry tooling at the local mixed climbing crags, or do some lower elevation fitness hikes. Check the remote weather stations for temperatures, bring extra clothes and a headlamp for any outings, and enjoy the fall colors mixed with snow.

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.