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jmckay

Western Canada/ November /K country ice

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The following are some various ice conditions. The only one I actually climbed is R&D today. The others are based on viewing them from either the road or other vantage points.

 

R&D: In good early season shape (Oct 31) and has seen lots of traffic. It offers good hooking on dry ice on the lower half then very wet plastic ice on the upper half. It will take 16cm screws anywhere. The cold temps (-14C @ 13:30 at the base of the route) combined with the dripping wet ice makes the ropes icy very quickly. Beware of rappel ropes freezing to the ice surface. Pull them immediately. The approach has a well beaten trail.

 

Other conditions:

 

Chalice and the Blade / Spoon and Lone Ranger: Not formed

 

Parallel Falls: Not formed

 

Trick or Treat: It's formed but the 4 hour approach over snowy frozen scree might not be worth it.

 

Cabrio and Centaur: Far from being formed as viewed from Wind Tower on Oct 24

 

Arterial Spurt: Just a thin veneer as viewed from Heart Mountain on Oct 26

 

Whiteman's Falls: A waterfall in the most truest since of the word as in lots of gushing water.

 

Happy ice hunting,

 

Sean Isaac

 

 

_______________________________________________

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.

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Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains issued Nov. 2nd, 2006

 

We are firmly settled into the early winter doldrums. A fairly big storm on the weekend brought around 30cms of snow to treeline in many areas with some strong west winds. The wind also blew on sunday/ monday as we transitioned into clear, cold and calm for the last couple of days across the ranges.

 

There is approximately 30cms of recent snow in the Columbia Icefields and Jasper east slope areas. This has been quite wind affected so expect more in gullies and lee features. Strong west winds have built up some fresh, big cornices. Bow Summit has 50cms of unconsolidated snow and you are still skiing on the ground. Conditions are similiar around Lake Louise. The best skiing in the Rockies is undoubtably the fresh trackset on the Moraine Lake road.

 

Rogers Pass reports 50cms of snow at 1900m at Fidelity(west side of the pass). 5-10cms of light snow at the road. This means any skiing around there will involve a long approach on foot on the lightly snow ocvered trails to some poorly covered rocks and logs at treeline. Don't even think about travelling through the alders. Glacier Park should soon be putting out its first avalanche bulletin of the season.

 

The best downhill ski conditions are probably on the glaciers in the interior but the wind has been at it. The snow bridges there and in the Rockies are probably thin and weak and cleverly disguised by the recent low density snow.

 

There is some hope for ice climbers and skiers. A few hardy souls have been getting on the thin ice on the east slopes of the Rockies and the thin snow on the west slope of the Columbias.There are probably some good turns and good pitches to be had. However, keep two things in mind. You will probably be working really hard on the approaches and, most importantly, you REALLY don't want to fall on thin ice or thin snow!

 

High north facing ice routes are the only realistic hope. The usual early season suspects such as R+D and Amadeus have been climbed. Bow Falls, the Weeping Wall, Shades of Beauty and a few other high flow routes are probably close but wet. Field is still just wet. Check www.gravsports.com for more details. I would also really like to encourage ice climbers to leave a note on their car as to their destination, especially in parking lots that access several routes. Paper under the wipers or scratch it in the rear window dirt. It allows for better decision making by the late sleepers and is just plain polite.

 

The weather forecast has been changing frequently in the last few days. The latest forecasts for the Rockies and interior point to a grey and slightly warmer weekend. Rain at low elevations and snow up high on the already thin and weak snowpack would be nothing but bad news in the short term. Either stand in line for a thin ice route or ski REALLY carefully. Patience, grasshopper! It is never worth getting hurt for bad skiing or bad climbing.

 

Larry Stanier

Mountain Guide

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I went for a hike/ski tour up the Asulkan valley on Nov.1 and here are some observations I made that day.

 

Valley bottom had progressively 10-30cm. of snow cover – the lower 2/3rds was a strong melt freeze crust and the upper 1/3rd was fluffy powder snow.

 

The crust pretty much carried to around 2000m. (6600ft.) above which it quickly disappeared – average snowdepth at this elevation was @60cm. – the upper 25cm was again fluffy powder snow. Once I climbed above treeline the snowpack depth was highly variable due to the high winds that accompanied the earlier snowfall – I didn’t travel any higher than the elevation of the Asulkan hut (@2200m – 7200 ft.).

 

I did note a number of size 2 avalanches that had released to the glacier ice on some steep rolls on the Sapphire Col Glacier. I could also trigger sluffs easily by pushing the soft snow with my skis on top of the crust – meaning that it is now well bonded to the crust for sure.

 

As Larry mentioned in his earlier summary the skiing was nothing short of early season conditions with numerous hazards related to shallow snowpack conditions.

 

That was then – and this is NOW.

 

I am not sure what Rogers Pass has received as of this time but there is approximately 30cm. of heavy snow in the Revelstoke townsite that has fallen overnight – so if you are thinking of going skiing this weekend (that would be the guy on your shoulder with the devils horns speaking to you) – think again – the precipitation is expected to continue throughout the weekend and into Monday with climbing freezing levels – given what I saw the other day I am sure that anything that is worth skiing would be quite unstable with this additional heavy snowload – so listen to that other little guy on your shoulder (the one with the halo) and give the weekend a miss.

 

Best of the coming ski season to you,

Cheers,

 

Scott Davis

Mountain Guide

 

HI I just reread my message and noted a typo that changed the meaning of what I meant considerably:

What was written was:

I could also trigger sluffs easily by pushing the soft snow with my skis on top of the crust – meaning that it is now well bonded to the crust for sure.

 

And what I meant to say was:

I could also trigger sluffs easily by pushing the soft snow with my skis on top of the crust – meaning that it is NOT well bonded to the crust for sure.

 

Hopes this makes more sense – it is still dumping in Revy.

Cheers,

 

Scott Davis

Mountain Guide

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Warm temperatures this weekend have resulted in fragile ice conditions on

some of the routes that did form. Keep in mind that some routes only just

formed during the cold spell a week ago. Many of these thin routes are

poorly welded to the rock. This was confirmed during an incident this

weekend when a pitch fell off while someone was trying to climb it.

 

An avalanche accident this weekend in K-Country involving ice climbers is a

reminder that the avalanche season has started. Do not let the sight of

extensive bare ground fool you. Gullies and basins above where some of the

early season routes have formed have windslabs in them and the wind combined

with warm temperatures is not helping stability.

 

It is supposed to get warmer yet. As Larry said last Thursday-Patience!

 

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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We once again thank you for your efforts in bringing this valuable information directly to our armchairs Mr Jmckay.

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It has been brought my attention that there has been an avalanche fatality in the Rocky Mountains. Ice climbers on a route in Kananaskis Country were struck by an avalanche yesterday. I have no details at this time.

 

In the Revelstoke area, a decent early-season snowfall has been followed by rising temperatures and rain. I'm not sure how high the freezing levels are at the moment but it looks like they are rising and it looks likely that there will be rain to mountain-top in the coming 24 hours. We've probably had 20mm in the cental Columbia Mtns last night and today and it looks like another 20 - 40mm at valley bottom elevations in the coming 24 hours. If this weather happens as forecast, there will be heavier, warmer, moister snow will overlying lighter, cooler, dryer snow--this may already be the case and if it is, it'll only get worse before it gets better.

 

I'd be concerned about the short-term avalanche danger in the coming days as temps rise and rain loads and thaws the recently fallen new snow.

 

Be careful if you go into the mountains in the coming days. Remember that what you see at the trail-head is going to be very different than what is happening above you. Especially if the weather is poor and visibility is limited, it'll be quite difficult to know what's going on at higher elevations.

 

Karl Klassen

Mountain Guide

1735 Westerburg Road

Revelstoke, BC

Canada

V0E 2S1

250-837-3733

kklassen@rctvonline.net

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Following is a bit more information about yesterday's avalanche accident in the Rockies:

 

The accident occurred on a waterfall ice climb just south of the Fortress ski area. The climb lies below a large alpine bowl. An avalanche from the bowl above swept over the climb early in the afternoon of Sunday, November 5th. The leading climber was partially protected by a rock outcrop which deflected the debris around and over him--a close call. The lower climber was buried in a gully feature. The party did not have avalanche transcievers, probes, or shovels. The surviving climber followed the rope to the vicinity of his partner and dug for approximately 45 minutes with his helmet before going for help.

 

The slide occurred on an east aspect. The area above the climb was lee to westerly winds, which had been transporting snow at upper elevations early in the storm when it was colder and the snow was dryer. Poor weather and bad visibility have hampered efforts to determine exactly what happened, but a fracture line was seen in the alpine bowl above the climbers. It is suspected that a smaller avalanche from near the ridgecrest at about 2600m (perhaps a sluff) triggered a slab in the bowl, which gained mass as it descended and caught the climbers in the terrain trap below.

 

The victim was found by Kananaskis Country rescue personnel. Preliminary reports indicate the victim was deeply buried (perhaps as much as 300cm below the surface) in a terrain trap.

 

News reports indicate the victim was alive when recovered about 2 hours after the avalanche and later died in hospital.

 

It should be noted that the Kananaskis Country started issuing avalanche bulletins on November 2 and the bulletins prior to the incident identified the existence of isolated slabs above treeline and specifically warned of the hazard presented by these slabs on ice climbs.

 

You can get the Kananaskis Country avalanche bulletin at www.avalanche.ca by going to the Canadian Avalanche Centre site, then Bulletins > Current Bulletins

 

Here in Revelstoke, the heavy rainfall warning was lifted earlier today and precipitation slowed by late afternoon. 32.5mm recorded at the airport yesterday. Felt like at least 20mm today, maybe more. Warming trend continues, +9 forecast for tomorrow morning, then cooling with showery precipitation forecast for the next couple of days. Depending on how much it cools, things might freeze up--at higher elevations anyway--by Thursday.

 

Karl Klassen

Mountain Guide

1735 Westerburg Road

Revelstoke, BC

Canada

V0E 2S1

250-837-3733

kklassen@rctvonline.net

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Up for a ski to the Bald Hills. Up the road, then the summer trail

and down the road from the hitching rail. 5-10cm of new snow

overnight. A strong rain crust lower down supports you and though

there is only about 15cm at the parking lot the road is Ok gliding on

the crust.

 

There is about 40-50 cm at treeline. The new snow sits on top of the

same raincrust, about 5cm thick and supportive if you ski smoooth...

Below the crust the snow is moist, and wet right at ground. No shears

or compressions were found. Once it cools the lower pack should gain strength.

It looks different higher in the alpine where there has been quite

a bit of wind transport. Loading is evident on N aspects and there

is certainly enough snow to trigger avalanches. No avalanche

activity observed.

 

People have been skiing down the summer trail but I would maybe play

on the low angle slopes near treeline but take the road down.

Reasonable early season skiing by Rockies standards!

Peter Amann

 

Peter Amann

Mountain Guiding

Box 1495, Jasper AB, T0E 1E0

780 852 3237

www.incentre.net/pamann

pamann@incentre.net

 

_______________________________________________

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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Mountain Conditions Summary for the Rockies and Columbia Mountains issued Nov. 9th, 2006

 

The monsoon is over and we are back into fairly normal, early winter conditions in the snowpacks of the Rockies and Columbias. There was a large and widespread avalanche cycle earlier in the week throughout the Columbias and Rockies that only ended with yesterday's cooler temps. Generally, these cooler temps have helped strengthen the warm, wet and moist snow of earlier in the week and brought snow to valley bottoms in all reporting areas. The legacy of this is a raincrust at treeline and above in the Columbias and in much of the Rockies. This Nov. 7th crust will be a layer to watch closely over the coming weeks. With more moderate temperatures and extended precipitation in the forecast, stability is likely to deteriorate over the weekend in the Columbias and some areas in the Rockies. The National Parks are producing avalanche bulletins so check their information before heading out. We are still a long way from good coverage at all elevations, so ride very conservatively and watch out for all those rocks, stumps and alders. Snowbridges will still be very weak on the glaciers and all the snow in the forecast will hide them well in the coming flat light.

 

Ice and mixed climbing is still suffering from the monsoon. Realistically we are starting from scratch after all that warmth. Assume that almost all the ice is new and doesn't have much real strength for at least another cold week. It would be really nice if people would consider staying off the ice in places like Haffner Ck. and Bear Spirit till it has a chance to fatten up and gain some strength.

 

Alpine climbing. Hah, you are dreaming!

 

The Canadian Avalanche Centre's public bulletins should be in full swing on November 13th. Get on their email list at www.avalanche.ca to keep current with conditions and the avalanche danger throughout the winter. This will be the last formal Mountain Conditions Summary until the spring. Individual ACMG guides will continue to provide reports throughout the winter, but it has always been our intention to not duplicate the CAC's excellent services in the winter.

 

Thank you very much for listening and for all the excellent feedback we have received in this first year of weekly summaries.

 

Have a really fun and safe winter!

 

Larry Stanier

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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R&D is still in good shape with a few short wet sections. There is a great

big pile of debris from a wet avalanche below the climb and the surrounding

snowpack has a 5cm breakable rain crust near the surface with a few cm of

new snow on it.

 

None of the other pure ice routes have formed in the Ranger Creek basin.

 

Cheers,

Marc Piché

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 i

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The following is a report on conditions observed at the Stanley Headwall today (Nov 10).

 

Approach: It is that in between time of the season when there is just enough snow to make walking tedious but not enough to warrant skis. 10cm of snow at the parking lot and on the lower trail which became deeper as the hike progressed. By the time we left the trail and the trees there was 20 to 40cm making for awkward stumbling through the scree below Nemesis and up to the Thriller Cave. Going to need a good base and more snow before skis will be useful. 6 pairs of feet stomped up and down the trail today; however, 3cm of fresh snow fell during the day and it was still snowing lightly when we left so our nicely packed trail might be gone by tomorrow.

 

Snow Conditions: It was -7 C at 1950m at 10:00am at the Thriller Cave. The big slopes below the routes have approximately 35cm of snow consisting of 15cm of low density fluff over the 5cm thick Nov 7 rain crust. The rain crust did not support walking. No wind effect noted in the valley. Due to the low ceiling, we could not see the slopes above the Nemesis and Suffer Machine. No recent avalanche activity noted from our limited perspective.

 

Route Conditions: Stanley ice is a little bit behind schedule for this time of year but there is still lots of water flowing and ice is growing. Hopefully the temperatures will stay mild thus keeping the tap on. See attached photos of French Reality area, Suffer Machine and Nemesis

 

French Reality: Lots of thin looking ice in the lower mixed corner. The upper pillar is not yet connected.

 

Nightmare of Wolfe St: Not in yet but close.

 

Acid Howl: Not even close

 

Suffer Machine: Fully formed and looks thick enough but still narrow in places. Might be problematic getting from the aid-bolt traverse to the ice. A team attempted it today but backed-off from part way up the first pitch (the M7 rock pitch).

 

Nemesis: It was climbed today. Appears in WI6 conditions right now but still wet so should continue to fill out.

 

Thriller Cave: Thriller is in usual mixed shape but will get bigger since it is still dripping. The hanging ice pillars of Roto Tiller and Distiller are as big as I have seen.

 

Sinus Gully: Formed. We had a drill with us so replaced the mank bolt anchor at the top.

 

 

-Sean Isaac, Assistant Alpine 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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Climbed Murchison Falls today.

The Parkway did not share its usual impressive views.

Not much visibility was had from road elevation between 9:30 and 18:00 (

late start).

The snow getting to the route was just enough to provide coverage and good

traction.

Once in the open below the route depth is variable, lots of wind activity,

snow drifts increased areas to knee depth, yet still much exposed rock.

Overall volume of snow in the lower bowl not a big issue YET but slabs are

forming.

The route can be best described as fun with adequate protection and

currently hard for its "guide book" grade with some early season hazards.

Main characteristics are ice lenses with rotten snow and ice bellow, found

on most ledges.

However, things are never desperate but remain technical until the end.

The upper left side was dripping and the route does appear ro be filling in

quickly.

During the day snow came down averaging 1 to 2 cm per hour.

At 19:00 lots of new snow on the road all the way to HWY1.

 

Patrick Delaney

Ass. Alpine guide

 

_________________________________________________________________

Buy, Load, Play. The new Sympatico / MSN Music Store works seamlessly with

Windows Media Player. Just Click PLAY.

http://musicstore.sympatico.msn.ca/content/viewer.aspx?cid=SMS_Sept192006

 

_______________________________________________

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.

 

To add to Patrick's excellent report, the top 15 m did have slightly less

than adequate protection (though it is easier climbing) -- bring a couple

extra long screws and be prepared to excavate deeply through the crap to the

better, though sun-rotten, stuff below. Be careful on those ice lenses,

there is a huge hole into the rushing water that crumbled into existence as

I was exiting near the top.

Tom Wolfe

AAG

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Went to Haffner Creek today for some mixed action. Definitely not the place to go if you are looking for proper ice climbing. The regular ice pillars are not yet formed (see attached photos). The little bit of ice that is present on them happens to be very thin and chandeliered. These need a while longer until they will be ready to climb.

 

However, if drytooling and thin ice is your bag then some of the bolted mixed rigs are good to go. Half n'Half, Shagadelic, Californication and Swank were climbed today but the ice portions of these routes are far from being fat and do not readily accept ice screws thus fairly runout by Haffner standards. Top outs are a challenging combination of loose scree and half frozen dirt. Everything is dripping hard so another week or more should see the ice filling out as long as temperatures stay below freezing.

 

PS- Snowing lightly all day.

 

-Sean Isaac, ACMG Assistant Alpine 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 drove through Rogers Pass today intending to go for a tour on my home from Golden – unfortunately the road closure due to a 4 or more semi pileup on Heather Hill delayed my travels and by the time I was at Rogers Pass (snowing 1-2 cm/hour) I thought better of the plan and continued home.

 

I did go for a tour to Balu Pass on Nov.9 and at that time I managed to ski from the hotel and didn’t have to hike with my skis at all (extra caution needed where the tree cover has protected the trail from snowfall – means it could be prudent to walk in a few spots on the way down).

 

There were numerous old wet avalanches from the previous weekends rain event that had run to midway (or farther) down most of the major avalanche paths that run off Mt. Cheops above Connaught Ck.

 

As well one avalanche (size 2.5) crossed the summer trail just after it crosses the creek to the north side of the valley (this path is known locally as “Frequent Flyer”) – the wet deposit carved a deep frozen gulley in the snow that is awkward to cross with skis on (means I took mine off).

 

The crust from the rain event was buried below 15-20cm. of new snow and at valley bottom was not fully frozen nor supportive but was not a problem on the existing uphill track that follows the summer trail – higher up the valley the crust was supportive as air temps dropped and the snow amount climbed to 25cm. (but was variable depth in wind exposed areas). The skiing was good and at that time the new snow was not sliding on the crust – however some of the snow did feel a little stiffer due to wind effect and we stayed away from steeper convex slopes for this reason.

 

Since that day the snow has continued and I would expect that there is at least 60cm. or more over the crust now and given the severity of the weather I would expect there has been significant wind above the treeline – so if you are heading out be cautious and keep the reins in check until the bond to the early Nov. Crust has a chance to adjust to this recent snow load. Tuesday should be cooler with a break in the storm but the forecast and models show a significant rise in freezing levels on Wednesday accompanying another storm front – I wouldn’t be surprised if this triggers an avalanche cycle in the backcountry.

 

Oh ya and then there is the deadly drive on the highways!

 

Keep them slippery side down (at least us old guys anyway)

 

 

Scott Davis

 

_______________________________________________

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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At 1100 m on Hudson Bay Mountain, 20 cm of snow fell today at a temperature of

-2 degrees and southerly winds. Another 15 to 20 are forecast for the valley

bottom overnight. I expect large natural avalanches overnight, particularly if

the temperature rises as forecast. It was too socked in today to see anything.

Some avalanches could run to the valley bottom on the debris that filled the

paths in on 28 October.

 

Christoph Dietzfelbinger, Mountain Guide

Bear Mountaineering and the Burnie Glacier Chalet

Box 4222 Smithers B.C. Canada V0J 2N0

info@bearmountaineering.ca www.bearmountaineering.ca

tel. 250-847-3351 fax 250-847-2854

_______________________________________________

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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Climbed R+D today. Very dense ice, hard to penetrate and easy to get picks

stuck if you weren't hooking. There is a wide variation of snow conditions

in that bowl, but one thing is very certain. All the avalanche terrain that

effects the approach and the routes in Ranger Ck has enough snowcover to

produce signifigant avalanches with the next big weather change.

 

This would apply equally to Parallel Falls, the Drip at the Centre of the

Universe, possibly French Ck.and probably most routes in avalanche terrain

along the Divide in Banff and Jasper.

 

I felt Ok in Ranger Ck. today but would have to think long and hard before I

would go back after any snowfall, rain or big warming. It is a great early

season climbing area that often sees upwards of 50 people a week before the

snows comes. It would, however, probably be a very bad habit to climb there

regularly all winter. In questionable stability, it is a nasty place, with

180 degrees of steep avalanche terrain, LOTS of wind effect, a junkshow

snowpack and no where to hide. An awfully committing place for one pitch of

grade 3.

 

We carried beacons, probe and shovel on the approach and it felt like the

right thing to do in that snow covered avalanche terrain

 

Larry Stanier

Mountain Guide

 

 

 

___________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________

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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Went back up to Stanley Headwall today (Nov 15) to the Killer Pillar area at the end of the headwall.

 

There is a little more snow on the trail then when I was there last Friday (5 days ago) but still not enough for skis since we were frequently walking on rocks underneath.

 

My main concern is it snowed all day at an average rate of 1cm/hour; sometimes more, sometimes less but fairly steady. The slopes below Nemesis sport variable depths of snow coverage ranging from 10cm to 50cm. The wind in the valley itself was moderate with strong gusts and starting to create some soft slabs. Lots of spindrift pouring down the cliff but no avalanche activity noted, YET. I personally would not want to go up there the next couple of days due to the new snow and wind redistributing it. Nemesis has big real estate above and who knows what is going on up there.

 

Sean Isaac

Assistant Alpine Guide

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Apologies if this is redundant but don't recall seeing a post on it so:

 

There was an avalanche incident on November 13 somewhere in the Golden area. A group of snowmobilers were spread out while crossing an avalanche path on a logging road at about 1310m (4300 feet) elevation. This would be below treeline so it would seem this was a slide path with start zone(s) above and a track or runout that crosses the road. The fourth person across was struck by an avalanche and partially buried. No injuries but a close call. What triggered the slide is not known and I have no other details. It's kind of old news by now but worth knowing that there's enough snow out there to make avalanches possible and it would appear they are capable of running well down into the track or runout zone in some places.

 

Things have probably not improved over the last few days since this incident. The leading edge of the latest front passed through Revelstoke around 11 a.m. PST today bringing scattered showers and strong, gusty winds to the valley bottom. If it's windy in Revelstoke, it's probably honking at upper elevations. This evening at 11 p.m. it's +4 degrees and the rain started again in earnest earlier in the evening so I suspect it's dumping a few hundred metres above town.

 

The Canadian Avalanche Centre have started issuing avalanche forecasts. Go to www.avalanche.ca if you want to read their take on things. If you're not already on their list, it's not a bad idea to sign up to have the forecasts emailed to your inbox whenever they are issued. You can do that from the bulletins page on the website.

 

Winter is here to stay. Yippee!

 

Karl Klassen

Mountain Guide

1735 Westerburg Road

Revelstoke, BC

Canada

V0E 2S1

250-837-3733

kklassen@rctvonline.net

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Went to Haffner Creek today for some mixed action. Definitely not the place to go if you are looking for proper ice climbing. The regular ice pillars are not yet formed (see attached photos). The little bit of ice that is present on them happens to be very thin and chandeliered. These need a while longer until they will be ready to climb.

 

However, if drytooling and thin ice is your bag then some of the bolted mixed rigs are good to go. Half n'Half, Shagadelic, Californication and Swank were climbed today but the ice portions of these routes are far from being fat and do not readily accept ice screws thus fairly runout by Haffner standards. Top outs are a challenging combination of loose scree and half frozen dirt. Everything is dripping hard so another week or more should see the ice filling out as long as temperatures stay below freezing.

 

PS- Snowing lightly all day.

 

-Sean Isaac, ACMG Assistant Alpine Guide

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Climbed icicle Fairy with Pierre yesterday. The route

is in, with the ice hanging just below the last bolt

and the first pitch thick enough to get some shorter

screws in. The ice isn't hanging far enough to stem

to it though, so exiting the rock is quite physical

and felt harder than the grade. Second pitch thinner

than usual for the start, and quite wet (mushy), but

very climbable. Lots of snow out there though (knee

to sometimes thigh deep) postholing and high winds

yesterday that covered our tracks immediately. It

didn't feel overly dangerous yesterday with the

quality of the snow, but with all the winds I might

wait until the weather settles more before venturing

there.

Sarah Hueniken

Assistant Alpine Guide

 

 

 

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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.

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Just got down from a jaunt up to Paul's Ridge where I was able to link a few sweet recoveries before writing off the ski day.

 

It was -0.5 in the parking lot with about 30cm of snow on the ground. The parking lot and road was plowed while wet, then re-froze so it is a bit bumpy but straight forward with a two wheel drive and winter tires.

 

The trail up is fully covered. There is an unpredictable breakable crust most of the way up so be prepared for the return to the car. The crust becomes a little more supportive when the trees start to thin out and it easily holds a skier above the cabin. It made for challenging skinning and I wish I had brought my crampons. I measured 95cm at the Red Heather cabin and 110cm at the top of the ridge 1550m. There was 2cm of new snow (groppel) on top of the crust at the ridge that was blowing into 15cm pockets here and there.

 

It was -3 at ridge-top, snowing a little more than a centimetre an hour with gusty winds. The skiing was challenging because there are rock hard water runnels cleverly hidden in the flat light.

 

With the forecasted snow this weekend should be quite fun up there. I would advise a cautious approach as the current conditions make for a great sliding surface for a future avalanche.

 

Cheers,

Conny Amelunxen

MG

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Went up Lesser Flute for some skiing today. Access was from Whistler Mountain. None of the alpine lifts where turning, and the only access was from the bottom of Harmony Chair. Every other route out was cut off by Avalanche Closures and will likely remain that way tomorrow unless the patrol gets to do more avalanche control.

 

The avalanche control that was done on Harmony Ridge did not cause the snow pack to avalanche. This was, I think, the first avalanche control the ridge had scene - with no skier compaction either. In other areas I did not see any natural, or human triggered avalanches except for a small size 1 sluff on a east facing aspect (skier triggered).

 

We skiied two runs on the north west side of Lesser Flute. The snow was very enjoyable, reasonably light and had a ski pen of about 25cm. The total height of snow at 1800 meters was 135cm. Most terrain features are pretty well filled in. The creeks are visible dips, but mostly snow covered and easy to ski across.

 

As for a summary of the snow pack: (where I measured the 135cm height of snow)

There is Fist density snow from the surface down to 35cm. Within that layer there is a layer of stellar snow crystals that caused easy compression tests.

Below that is a layer of 4 Finger Density snow that quickly changed to Pencil density as one looks down the pit wall. This snow showed a couple of Moderate compression tests, but the resulting fractures where irregular breaks.

At 65cm below the surface there is a slight change in density, with looser snow (almost 4 finger density) under the Pencil density snow. Here I managed to get Hard Compression Tests - the fracture was very clean each time. This failure point could be a problem in the future - if it is widespread.

The usual near ground ice layer made up the bottom 30cm of the snow pack. I got a moderate/hard shovel shear test on this.

 

I'm rating the Hazard at Tree Line (where I was) at Moderate. The Stability as Good.

 

Definitely feels like winter! The attached photo was taken today from Flute looking E at Oboe Mt.

 

Dave Sarkany, Ski Guide

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