Mt. Athabasca - N. Face Bypass
Climbed the N. Face Bypass on Thursday, June 11th. The Columbia Icefields area is still holding considerable snow with 150 - 200cms probed on the approach. Cooler temps made for great travel on the glacier with no more than boot top penetration and minimal avalanche concerns. I would expect this to change without a decent freeze, and given all the snow, it could quickly turn into wallowing.
There was little recent new snow and not much for windloading or slab building. We observed no avalanches during the day, but there was evidence of a size 2 - 2.5 off of the Silverhorn in the past week or so. We were also lucky to have overcast conditions in the afternoon, which minimalized daytime warming.
The entire N. Face Bypass, including the Scottish gulley exit (photo), had great step kicking snow, and the bergschrund was easily crossed. We opted to descend the AA col, which was in very similar conditions with no visible bergschrund at the moment.
The N. Face was also climbed and was reported to be in excellent condition with the blackband (photo) sporting minimal difficulty and reasonable protection.
A good freeze and an early start are a must! Have fun out there!