ACMG Mountain Conditions Report for Rockies and Columbia MntsThe forecasts of a "BIG" La Nina year are not jiving with reality just yet. The weather forecasts are not really depressing but aren't exactly an excuse for ecstatic behaviour yet either.
In the Columbia mountains, some rain to around 2000m on monday has left an at least moist snowpack in some places and a raincrust in others. Not many operations providing observations yet, but there is 8cm at the summit of Rogers Pass and 32cm at Mt. Fidelity(western glacier park) at 1900. Snowing lightly and the skiing and the driving is tricky in Glacier park. At 7am today at Mustang Powder Lodge at 1700m in the western Monashees they had 56cm of snow on the ground, snowing lightly and it was -6c.
Banff park wardens report that rain fell to around 2900m at the beginning of the week. There is now a rain crust to around that elevation. They report that avalanche activity, even sloughing, has slowed down. There is probably some stiff, nasty windslabs above 3000m.
Low elevation ice climbing is also a slow starter, but with the forecasted colder temperatures, ice may soon be coming to a below treeline drip near you.
The rain and moist snow will have helped the glacier travel and the early season skiing a tiny bit but it still sucks:)
This stronger snow will improve crevasse bridging somewhat and means that the snow around the innumerable rocks, stumps and alders carries a bit better. Maybe it means you can get going faster before you take that horrendous beater through the fire hardened stumps. Some decent turns may possibly be had up high though if you are willing to take the walk and the risk.
That early season rain crust will need some observation to see whether it becomes a weak layer later in the winter.
This is our last MCR summary for 2010. The Canadian Avalanche Centre will start putting out their Public Avalanche Bulletins on Friday. Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper and Glacier National Parks and Kananaskis Country have started putting out their regional bulletins. Go to http://www.avalanche.ca to see all these fine bulletins if you aren't already on their mailing lists.
Thank you again for tuning in to the MCR. ACMG members will continue to provide observations from specific locations as they can over the winter and we will start up the summaries again in the spring. Have a great winter when it finally gets here:)