Bow Valley / Columbia Icefields
The GTA group climbed various objectives in the Bow Valley and Columbia Icefields area over the period of June 6-14.
Weather through this time was variable, with temperatures generally above freezing and freezing levels overnight around 2500m. Overall, SW winds and minimal precipitation switched to generally easterly winds bringing the current storm system in the afternoon of the 13th.
The team climbed the south ridge of the true summit of Norquay, buttresses #1 and #4 on Buller, the North Glacier and North Ridge of Athabasca, and the South Ridge of A2 via the Boundary Lake approach. For the rock objectives, snow persisted down to treeline including large cornices on ridgelines throughout the region, and the Boot Crack on Buller appears to still be snow-choked. For the Icefields objectives, good overnight freezes allowed for fast travel in the am but deteriorated quickly starting around 10am. May like coverage on the glaciers with an average HS of 2m above 2500m and an isothermal snowpack below 2800m. No avalanches were observed, though a loose wet problem was anticipated all field days. In general conditions are still about a month behind schedule for this time of year, but also likely to change rapidly with current conditions.
Bears are out and travelling, being forced into lower elevations by the snow, and ticks are out and about in the Bow Valley. Bighorn sheep are present on Buller #4, posing a rockfall hazard on approach.
Attached photos of the Mt. Athabasca area and the N. Face exit.
Posted on behalf of the GTA training group