Climbing Conditions

8 photos

Deteriorating glacier

Athabasca North Glacier

Climbing Conditions

We went to take a look at the ice skills teaching venue on the North Glacier. The ice tongue has narrowed quite a bit since last year, with looming seracs present on both sides. The right side has had a serac fall event this spring with blocks spraying the lower right part.

The left side has several large blocks on the edge, (bus and house size) and from below it might look like the moat would deflect icefall to the left, away from the middle of the tongue.
The moat looks pronounced and it curves left.
There are also 2 large caves going in sideways from the left towards the middle of the tongue. The lower one is very large, we could not see the end when looking straight in it.
The upper one is smaller but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The back connects with a collapsed crevasse, forming an arch, see red arrows.
Last but not least, a new crevasse that wasn't there last year splits across the top of the whole ice tongue, from side to side. Maybe a schrund is being born.
We saw all this on the way down while using the bolted rap line on the left. We also saw that the moat is inadequate for stopping the very large blocks above it, see picture of fall line.
Snow was isothermal, varying from 10-80cm in thr deepest spots, boot pen from boottop to knee. Snow/ice interface is saturated and the bonding is poor.
All in all, an unsettling experience, and probably the last time l use that venue.

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.