Ski Conditions

2 photos

Shallow snow pack

Columbia Icefield

Ski Conditions

I spent the last few days on the Columbia Icefield (April 21-23). On the 21st, we approached via the Saskatchewan Glacier. We chose the longer Saskatchewan Glacier approach over using the Athabasca Glacier approach because of the Athabasca's poor snow coverage, many crevasses, and icefall hazard.

The approach to the toe of the Saskatchewan glacier is melting out quickly, but we were able to keep our skis on all the way. The toe of the glacier was thinly covered with snow and had ice showing in numerous places. Above 2200 metres, the snow coverage starts to improve.

On the 22nd, we made an ascent of Snow Dome. Probing throughout the day revealed an overall very weak and shallow snow pack on any areas with steeper terrain. With the poor visibility and thinly covered crevasses (in certain areas), we were required to ski part way down Snow Dome with the rope on.

On the 23rd, we skied out, with visibility coming and going. By 1pm the crust in the valley bottom was breaking down. Travel would have been challenging without it, so we were happy to be back at the car early.

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.