Rockies- Black Prince, Observation pk, Emerald lake
To go along with Parks Canada report about Field Ice climbs-we expected a couple of cm of new snow over night and headed to the Emerald Lake slidepath. 20-30 cm new snow in the parking lot, -2c and calm. We snuck up the left side of the BIG avalanche path and after about 200 vertical m of kinda hiding in the trees I chickened out and we skied down. About 5 minutes into changing into downhill mode the wind picked up at that elevation and I was very relieved to be going downhill.
The wind continued to pick up as we skied out and it was snowing and blowing hard all the way from Emerald Lake to the Banff east gate. We saw one large natural avalanche off Mt Stephen. Sounds like there was many more.
Yesterday we skied the runout of the Hourglass shaped avalanche path at the head of the Black Prince cirque. It had slid to the top of the runout in the past couple of days and we felt ok doing two laps as it was calm, cool, no wind up high and no new snow. A colleague was there today and reported that area also got at least 20cm new snow and a natural avalanche had run into the upper fan once again. They certainly didn't feel as comfortable as we did yesterday.
We had good skiing on Observation Pk on tuesday but- this storm has come in much stronger than forecast with higher snowfall amounts, lots of moderate to strong winds and mild temperatures. It would be a wise to assume that the avalanche hazard has gone way up in all the classic skiing areas of the Rockies and the ice climbing areas from Mt Rundle west and will stay that way for at least a couple of days. Perhaps after a couple of days we will get a better sense of what has really happened but for now our Rockies snowpack that has been behaving fairly well is not to be trusted.
"Patience Grasshopper" and all that
ACMG Mountain Guide