My climbing partner Ben and I found good conditions in the alpine in Valhalla Provincial Park earlier this week. On Monday we climbed a route on the South Face of Nisleheim Peak, and Tuesday we followed the ridge from camp and traversed over the Wolfs Ears. We decided to leave early today due to extensive thunderstorm activity.
Most of the steep rock routes were dry, with the exception of north faces and shady places that still have snow patches.
The snow line is around 2000m elevation on the south side of Mt Gimli, although the campsite was mostly free from snow. We had excellent snow travel with good step kicking and no overnight freezes, only occasionally sinking up to our knees in rocky areas. The standard descent off Mt Gimli looked like you’d want an ice axe and some sturdy footwear. Access into Mulvey Basin is about as easy as it gets, with snow to within 1m of the col (required a mantle to get up), and it looked like boot skiing all the way down to the lakes.
Avalanches and cornices:
No recent avalanche activity was observed, although there are many glide cracks waiting and old avalanches that failed on rock slabs. Most of the cornices have melted away, but we still saw a few large cornices hanging over Mulvey Lakes on the north faces, looking like they were ready to break off any second.
Enjoy the early season climbing!