Climbing Conditions

1 photos

Challenging Snowpack and Travel Conditions

Mount Athabasca NF Bypass, Ramp, AA Col

Climbing Conditions

Went up the North Face Bypass today on a training mission. Was headed towards the Ramp Route for descent and then elected to work our way down the AA Col.

We found a snowpack structure in some locations that feels challenging to trust in climbing terrain. Things have not transitioned to a spring/summer snowpack and we found crusts down anywhere from 30 to 60cm that gave us pause. Places we were more concerned included the final slopes to gain the North Ridge on the bypass (below that things felt quite beaten in by frequent sloughing) and on the way down from the AA Col. From todays observations the only place the crust is not present is in north facing terrain above 3300m but of course the snowpack there is still unconsolidated and has 30cm of recent storm snow or more if wind loaded.

Solar radiation also played a role in our day with moist snow to mountain top on solar aspects and up to 2800m on polar terrain. A lack of wind and some green housing contributed to how much effect the radiation had, ultimately all our descent options had taken some heat making the crust feel all the more concerning.

As a final addition I would note that travel was a bit taxing. We had 10cm breakable crust and 20cm foot pen all the way up the North Glacier and 30-40cm foot pen on higher north facing terrain. That said, even as the crust broke down mid-day foot pen did not increase appreciably and we had limited wallowing where you might expect it...even on snow patches below 2500m.

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.