Spent the last 4 days in various locations of the Coast Range, with Squamish as the center of activities.
Monday - Blackcomb Buttress. The rock dried quite quickly and found enjoyable climbing, with no snow on the approach or descent. Felt quite manageable in approach shoes as long as you are comfortable in scree/talus. Attached is a good summer photo of the circle lake, Decker glaciers, so you know what you are walking over in the early winter ski tours!
Tuesday - Habrich - NW Face route. With the Sea to Sky gondola out of commision until early next spring, we drove around the back to the locked gate. Right now it was nice to have 4wd/clearance for the steep and beat up roads. This adds 20 minute of walking to get to the gondola top station, so not too bad. Rock was dry, bugs were terrible, there is still water running in the approach gulley near the top. Fixed lines on the NW face were in decent shape.
Wednesday - Tantalus - Dione. THe early season heat took its toll on the glaciers in the Tantalus and despite the cool, moist summer, things are looking rather anemic. Moats are especially bad this year in some places, and there are more crevasses than normal on certain routes, such as the north face of Serratus. Weak surface refreezing of the snow pack occurred on the clear nights, but broke down rather quickly. There are a few snowbridges to cross to get up to Dione right now, so use caution. Rock was dry and the range wasn't too busy. Of note is the crevasses opening up rather huge on the snow shoulder approaching Dione, photos attached
Thursday - N. Face of Serratus. I last climbed this a month ago and the crevasses have opened up dramatically. The quick approach on the bottom of the face is basically done. The party in front of us went over the bridge (photo attached) but the thin nature (less than a meter, over 3m across!) with water dripping led me to choose a line by climbing into and out of the crevasse relatively easily. There were many isothermal bridges up higher, but straightforward routes to climb. THe party above us chose a climbers left line close to the rocks and a member slipped and hurt there ankle when they slid into the rocks requiring a long line heli rescue above us. This is the 3rd long line rescue in the last 2 weeks in the Tantalus! They were prepared with radios, so it was rather casual, but the last two parties plucked off of Tantalus were both stuck overnight in weather, so make sure you are prepared. This season has not been splitter for weather and Dione and Tantalus especially have been stuck in the clouds many days when its sunny and nice in Squamish. All the safety gear in the world is great to have, because sometimes the helicopters just can't make it so be ready.
The weather forecast looks to be unstable for the foreseeable future so be prepared and have fun!