We’re in full summer mode now and if you’ve been wanted to get up into the alpine there’s no time like the present.
Despite the amazingly warm weather the glaciers along the Sea-to-Sky have fared reasonably well. Sun cups have continued to develop but are not overly large, coverage on the glaciers is surprisingly good and crevasse bridges have been strong. This has all combined to offer good travel. Of course things change rapidly and I expect the continued heat will really start to take its toll as the days go by.
Alpine rock routes are in great shape with dry rock on all aspects and bergschrunds are generally still crossable throughout the corridor.
Rock fall is always a problem in the alpine but has been a little more pronounced with the incredibly warm weather that we have been experiencing. We’re getting into a cycle of melting permafrost, ice and glacial retreat which can all cause natural rock-fall. Minimizing exposure to these hazards and making use of early morning travel after a solid overnight refreeze is the name of the game.
You can also expect crevasse bridges to be deteriorating day by day as more and more snow disappears and extra caution should be taken as the snow surface softens during the heat of the day.
Lastly, the backcountry has been busy this year so be aware of other parties that may be both above and below you on a route.
Specific Route Notes:
Sky Pilot: There’s still snow down to the lower bowl offering quick and efficient travel up to the ridge, after that the route is dry.
Garibaldi: The north face bergschrund is no longer crossable on the right but can be crossed on the left with a pitch of snow climbing.
Tantalus: Bergschrunds are still crossable so routes like the Tantalus Traverse, Dione, Serratus and Alpha are all in great shape. Note – The 2nd Rappel off the S shoulder of Mt. Tantalus has 2 loose bolts (not hangers but the bolts themselves). The station has been temporarily backed-up with the slung horn and will be fixed in the next week or two but it serves as a good reminder to always inspect permanent anchors before committing to them.
Wedge: Still good access from the glacier onto the ridge, the final pitch no longer has any snow.
Matier/Joffre Area: Again, great travel on the glaciers and the rock routes are dry.
Sea-to-Sky alpine routes are in great shape now and the air is relatively smoke free but it’s not going to last with the continued warm weather.