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jmckay

Western Canada July Reports

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Boundary Peak via Boundary Glacier on Sunday. Rainfall in am till 0530, freezing level around 9000’ (2740m). Boundary Glacier becoming more difficult to access due to extreme rock fall issues on climbers Right side (below boundary peak), and increasing amount of large open crevasses on normal mid glacier route. Also note large seracs on climbers left side which threaten quite a distance. Mid glacier route still passable with a short belayed section over large snowbridges over crevasse (this might not last long). North Glacier route on athabasca looks pretty good but note active serac fall running almost to toe of glacier. A safer route (green on photo), through this section is to cross to climbers left side of normal route to avoid being under these seracs for too long (blue line is “most often” used line). See attached photos.

Have fun

 

Jeff Honig Mountain Guide

 

Jeff Honig

Mountain Guide

Alpine Addictions

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Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains issued

July 20th, 2006

 

Alpine conditions are generally dry on most routes with good conditions on

glacial approaches. Bergschunds are starting to widen but most people are

reporting them to be passable. Forecast for all ranges over the weekend are

calling for very warm temperatures with temps up 30 degrees in valley

bottoms. Little freezing if any can be expected at all elevations.

Cornice failures need to be considered with these conditions. Rockfall

potential on alpine faces also warrants serious consideration with the lack

of freezing.

 

Columbia Icefield area. Routes such as Silverhorn and Athabasca North Face

are now quite icy. Glacier is melted back to almost ramp height on normal

route of Athabasca. There are still large cornices on Andromeda.

 

Banff, Yoho Kootenay Parks: Good conditions throughout. East of the

TransCanada, conditions are bone dry. Along the Divide, expect good

conditions throughout with icy conditions on routes such as Victoria.

Routes such as Lefroy and Glacier peaks still have snow but it is thin and

it won't last.

 

Rogers Pass Area: Generally good conditions with rock routes dry. Swiss

Glacier is dry but snow couloir on Rogers Peak still snowy. Couloirs on

Swiss peaks getting icy. Faces like Youngs peak are ice. West face bypass

on Sir Donald still has a small snowpatch. Of note, Sir Donald Trail just

closed today for bear activity.

 

Bugaboos: Good conditions throughout. Bugaboo Snowpatch Col still snow and

passable but bergschrund is getting wider.

 

Marc Ledwidge

Mountain Guide

 

_______________________________________________

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.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Spent the past couple of days in the Des Poilus glacier area. Excellent

conditions, good travel and crevasse bridging, with reasonable overnight

freezes over the past couple of nights.

 

We climbed Mt. Des Poilus on July 19, summitted at 11:00 am. Snow was firm

to the top going up, and softening quickly, making for good steps, on the

descent. The bergschrund is in good shape, easily passed on a bridge to

the left. This bridge is quickly getting smaller though, and the schrund

is quite large.

 

There is a very friendly family of goats in the area, eager for a taste of

anything salty; so mind where you urinate.

 

Regards,

Tom Wolfe

_______________________________________________

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.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Park Wardens in Glacier National Park have closed the Sir Donald, Perley Rock,

Great Glacier and Avalanche Crest trails as there is a grizzly bear frequenting

the trails and slide paths. These trails are climbers access for Avalanche,

Eagle, Uto and Sir Donald. This closure is until further notiice.

 

There is also a bear warning for the Asulkan Valley trails, but this still

allows hikers/climbers access to the Asulkan Hut, Youngs Peak from the Seven

Steps side, Sapphire Col, and the Asulkan Traverse.

 

Check with the Glacier National Park Visitor Center for updates.

Phone 250-814-5232

 

Jordy Shepherd

Seasonal Park Warden

Mountain Guide

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________________________________

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.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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Five days at the Asulkan hut in the heat. Mostly good freezes overnight and great travel conditions.

 

Youngs peak NW face in good shape but will be an ice face soon.

Swanzy north ridge. Description talks about a chimney topped with loose rock. We may have missed something but we only found a big rockfall scar there and climbed a somewhat serious 5.8 pitch on the ridgecrest. Upper route is in awesome shape as was descent down SE couloir.

 

Mostly snow on the glaciers but it is getting thin. Big fresh grizzly tracks through Asulkan pass.

 

Hut is in great shape. Sir Donald trail still closed as of 3pm today for grizzly action.

 

Larry Stanier

Mountain Guide

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2.15 AM start on the Normal (North Glacier) Route of Mt. Athabasca on Saturday 7/22 with temps estimated around +10C at the parking lot @ 2000m. Snow coverage started around 2900 m on the North Glacier. The traverse across the ramp below the Silverhorn was well tracked in and quite steep in spots (see image) - a large and obvious crevasse bridge can also be bypassed a bit higher than the main track, a small detour that seems worth-while given the effects of the heat wave. Nil overnight refreeze to mountain top, but travel was still manageable in the slushy snow. I had a look at the descent down the AA col side, which at 10AM had not yet seen any sun, however the snow overlying the ice was water saturated and there was reason to be concerned to see it slide with the day time warming. We opted to descent the way we came down the North Glacier.

 

While on Thursday the Sky Ladder on Andromeda appeared from the distance somewhat like a snow / ice climb, by Saturday afternoon it was looking totally rotten with black streaks running down the lower parts.

 

Hope for cooler temps........

 

Jorg Wilz

Mountain Guide IFMGA

www.ontopmountaineering.com

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Climbed both of these mountains yesterday (July 23) via their scrambles routes. Very little snow left in the approach bowl above Lake Agnes (but nice to walk on where you can) and no snow above the col going up either routes. Electrical activity was underway by 12pm just in time for us to descend.

Be perpared for a scree slog!

 

Jesse de Montigny

Assistant Rock Guide

Assistant Ski Guide

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The bergschrund between Opabin Pass and Opabin Glacier is opening fast. Pass-able today (Jul24) but maybe not for much longer.. at least easily.

Terry Duncan

Ski/Backpack guide

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Having climbed the North Ridge of Swanzy twice over the last few years, both times I’ve been forced on to the same 5.8 pitch as described by Larry. And the second time I was determined to find what I figured I must have missed on my first visit. Definitely a nice route, but a little out of character for it’s 5.4 grade when compared to Sir Donald or Tupper.

 

Worth doing nonetheless, but be ready for a few sections of real climbing in mountain boots.

 

Paul Norrie

Mountain Guide

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Sir Donald trails are now open (July 26). Sir Donald, Perley Rock, Avalanche Crest and Great Glacier all open, with a bear closure lifted today.

 

Jordy Shepherd

Seasonal Park Warden

Mountain Guide

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Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains issued July 27th, 2006

 

It is now approximately the sixth week of summer conditions in the alpine and the hot, dry and getting icier trend continues.The snow is still melting quickly, especially below 3300m and ice is starting to melt signifigantly on the margins of ice faces and glaciers. Actual snow travel conditions vary greatly from day to day with solid freezes and morning slush all being possible.

 

Rockfall from the rapid melting of snow and especially of old ice is arguably the biggest hazard right now. As the ice faces and steep glaciated terrain melts out some REALLY ugly terrain is being exposed. Big blocks are left perched in precarious positions and they are looking to find a new home somewhere downhill.

 

Pure alpine rock routes are generally bone dry with some rare exceptions at high elevations. Snow and ice routes are getting icier by the day and bergschrunds are slowly opening up. The big mixed routes are generally in terrible condition right now, dry with lots of rockfall, dirty ice and exposed choss. Glacier travel is mostly excellent but alpinists need to be prepared for both bare ice and poorly bridged crevasses, especially in the daytime heat.

 

There is some possibility of rain in the weekend forecasts. Light to moderate rain isn't going to change anything dramatically in the snow but obviously it will be weak when rain soaked. We haven't had many big thunder and lightning events this summer but watch the most recent forecasts when planning your trip and the upwind weather when you are out as this could be an electric weekend.

 

Larry Stanier

Mountain Guide

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Just got back from 3 days at Neil Colgan and one day at Ohara. Steep ice

faces such as Fay north face, Quadra north face are in poor condition and

full of black steaks. West ridge of Fay is good with easy shrund crossing

and icy conditions to ridge. Hungabee is almost dry with snowpatch

disappearing fast and traverse into the coal bands drying fast. Lefroy is

vertical gravel mixed with ice and some snow-poor condition. Victoria south

ridge in good condition. Temperatures at 4:00 am at 9000 ' around +10

 

Marc Ledwidge

Mountain Guide

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Just out from a trip into the Bugaboos - conditions are holding up so far -

Bugaboo Snowpatch Col still in snow condition - schrund continues to open

midslope requiring a big step/jump to cross if you follow the main track up

it.

 

Temps were quite warm(no overnight freezes) with a major

lightening/thunder/rain event mid afternoon on July 25(Tuesday) that caught

a lot of parties still out on their routes - weather stabilized again on

Wednesday with only fair weather clouds.

 

Kudos to Parks/ACC for the improvements to the parking area and hut (new

filtration system on water supply to Conrad Kain hut) - parking lot was

quite full and there are something like 25 plus people registered for the

hut over the weekend and until Tuesday next week.

 

Scott Davis

Mountain Guide

 

_______________________________________________

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.

Please check out http://acmg.ca/mcr for more information.

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I was in the Icefields area July 25-27, climbed Regular Route on

Athabasca July 26 and Silverhorn on July 27.

 

Max temps in the 20s in the campground, 12 degrees at 2 AM. The rivers

on the glaciers not letting up all night. Snow conditions are OK

though, with the snow remaining stable and firm on the trail on the

Ramp during our descents at about noon.

 

Ice and glacier conditions are deteriorating rapidly in the entire area

though. Athabasca is very crevassey. About a quarter of the way along

the Ramp the trail is going over a bridge spanning a very wide hole. It

is hard to see how good the bridge is, but the adjacent bridge is dicey

looking. It may be best to relocate the trail, starting below the

Silverhorn schrund and going high around this crevasse. However this

puts you closer to the ice cliff at the base of the Silverhorn and

although it looks benign it did spit out several beer-fridge to dining

table sized ice chunks late in the afternoon on the 26th and this ice

avalanche crossed the trail being used on the regular route.

 

Other noteworthy crevasses exist from the end of the Ramp to the large

saddle above, weak bridges here. Also getting to the Silverhorn is

problematic and I had to climb down into a crevasse and cross a wobbly

ice block to get to the base of the route. There may be a better route

across a bridge on the far right.

 

The following are not ice climbs at the moment (see photos): Hourglass,

Skyladder, W Shoulder Direct. Athabasca N Face is ice but very dirty

and ugly looking, huge schrund and can't be recommended. N Face bypass

is narrow and looks the same as the N Face.

 

Alberta has snow on the summit ridge and in gullies above the Japanese

route, there may be rockfall concerns there. The Sunwapta ford was

swimming at 9 AM the other day apparently. Bryce looks the best of the

bunch. (See photos).

 

Mark Klassen

Mountain Guide

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Climbed Mt. Assiniboine Yesterday July 27/06. Excellent conditions, the best I have seen for a few years. The mountain itself is almost free of snow, except for couple patches. Still has a summit cornice that you need to be careful. We did not use any crampons, and used my ax to chop 4 steps.

 

The Gmoser Highway is also in great shape. The only snow patch left is in the far south end where you exit out. That snow is easily bypassed on the left.

 

The Temperature yesterday at 03:30 was about +9.0 at 8800 feet. On the summit of Assiniboine ( 11, 867) was about +5 at 09:00.

 

Marco Delesalle

Mountain Guide

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Climbed A2 & Boundary Pk. yesterday.

 

The glacier below A2-Athabasca col is starting to break up -- days are

numbered for a straightforward approach to A2 or Athabasca's E face this

summer (The E face looks to be in good condition except for the usual

seracs, and the NE ridge is in good, dry condition).

 

We travelled mostly on bare ice on the North Glacier approaching the

Athabasca/Boundary col. While the snow on the last couple hundred metres

to the col may be tempting, there are some really big thinly bridged

crevasses closer to the glacier's margin.

 

Good travel, but one minor punch through a snow bridge on the upper

Boundary.

 

Regards,

Tom Wolfe

AAG

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Hello,

 

We climbed the East Ridge of Edith Cavell on Tuesday July 25th. It was in quite good shape, mainly dry on the ridge with the usual snow crossings, some of which were safely bypassed on rock. There was a couple sections of ice on the upper ridge which may require an axe and crampons. The summit ridge had some recent tracks quite high on the cornice (yikes!), we used crampons and travelled lower down. Fresh socks and running shoes make the final trail home a little nicer.

 

Enjoy your days,

 

Andrew Langsford

 

Asst. Alpine/Ski Guide

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After arriving in Calgary to the start of a stretch of unstable weather (beginning July 30), Brad Platt and I scuttled our plans for Mt. Temple E. Ridge (bear restriction -- we were a party of two) and Robson Kain Face (no point in trying this past week -- bad weather and too much new snow, we heard) but did manage Silverhorn on Athabasca on Tues. 8/1 (two tools and steel crampons for the ice, but no rope) and Stanley Peak, N. Face Kahl Route on Sun. 8/6 (two tools, crampons, six screws, and rope).

 

Silverhorn has a crack at the bottom that was easy to cross on 8/1. Stanley's N. Face is very broken at the bottom. We found a way through that was reasonable -- but won't be for long. The face itself was almost all ice and really fun.

 

We made it to the big bench on Edith Cavell E. Ridge on Thurs. 8/3 in three hours from the car, but were thwarted from even trying the upper section by 1' or more of new snow on everything, icy rock, ugly cloud on top, and threatening weather. It looked like an epic waiting to happen, so we downclimbed. Bummer.

 

Thanks Joe McKay for the beta prior to our departure. We'll be back next year!

 

John Sharp

Team Pansy

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