Hi there, I just finished four days of guiding up at the Icefields starting on August 1st.
On August 2nd we ascended Mt.Athabasca via the Northface bypass. Thanks to a good overnight freeze travel on the glacier was breeze. Conditions remain good on the face. The bershrund was no issue to cross and there is still a thin layer of snow remaining on most of the face which,made things a little easier on the calves. The Scottish gully is still in good shape with ice throughout. The ridge line above the gully is completely snow free all the way up to the final summit ridge.
We descended via the ramp route. Conditions were excellent on the ramp with easy step kicking in boot top snow.
On August 4th we ascended Mt. Andromeda via the normal descent route. There was a significant thunder storm that rolled through at about 2am that morning. The rain line was to about 3000m and there was a very light dusting of snow above this elevation. Most of the snow melted once the day warmed up.
Travel on the glacier was boot top at the most in rain saturated snow. The bergshrund was quite easily crossed. There is still a thin snow layer on most of the face. The loose rock pitches above the face are completely snow free. Travel from above the top of rock pitches to the summit was very straight forward on fun snow and scree.
Of note we observed a significant rock slide while doing skills training on the lower North Glacier of Mt. Athabasca on August 1st. The slide occurred at approx. noon out of the scree slopes below the lower West face of Boundary peak. At the time we were at the toe when we noticed a lot of rock coming down towards the edge of the glacier. When the dust settled we could see that up to a meter thick layer of scree had actually slide on ice (see picture), which was a surprise to me as I figured the ice had long since melted away from that zone. Just a good heads up as to what these warm temps from the last few weeks are doing to the glacial zones.
All the best,
ACMG/IFMGA Mountain guide