Climbing Conditions

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Climbing Conditions

I just returned from my second trip on the Wapta Icefield in one week. Last weekend, I reported excellent travel conditions during our ascent of Mount Gordon on the ACC Intro Mountaineering course. This weekend we circumnavigated Mount St. Nicholas as part of the ACC Bow Hut Discovery trip. Despite heat wave temperatures, travel conditions remain excellent. There wasn't any overnight freeze (low of 9 C at Bow Hut), but that didn't matter since the deep, mature summer snowpack is offering very supportive snow. The firn line is still all the way down to the toe of the glacier, but some sections of bare ice are starting to finally show in a couple of places. Sun cups are beginning to form but are not developed enough yet to be annoying.

I have attached a recent photo of the avalanche observation that I reported last week from the NE face of Mount Olive. The crown is even more discernible now that the underlying black ice exposed. This time I also observed another older slab avalanche crown on the NE aspect of Mount Baker just below its corniced ridge. These observations make me suspicious of any steep snow slope that has not yet slid. There are also still a lot of big saggy cornices lingering from the winter that are poised to drop, especially in this heat.

As for COVID-19, we had an exclusive booking at Bow Hut with only seven of us total (in a hut that sleeps 30). Masks were worn at all times when in the hut except when eating (then no talking) and when sleeping. The ACC sends cleaning crews up between groups to completely disinfect the hut, and the hut remains empty for three days between groups.

Sean Isaac
ACMG Alpine Guide
Alpine Club of Canada

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.