Monday, August 27, 2007

Alpine Conditions: Mt Huber (Aug 15)

Guided Mt Huber today (Aug 15) up and down the Huber Ledges. Clear night and blue sky day made for great conditions. Still a lot of snow up high from last weeks storms (Hungabee and Biddle are pretty white) but the Huber Ledges are snow free. Beware of slippery verglass where you cross the gullies. Anything that looks wet was actually thin ice.

The storm snow has repaired the final ice face providing 20cm of supportive snow over the ice allowing for good steps with ice screw anchors (you have to dig down for the ice though). The bergshrund is also in good shape providing several options on the left side for crossing. Some breakable crust (2cm melt-freeze crust over 20-30cm of storm snow) on the glacier making for punchy trail breaking.

Aidan Millar (11 years old) has spent every summer of his life under the bulk of Huber. This was his first time climbing it. Maybe Mt Victoria next when he is 12. I was impressed by his strength as we managed the climb up and down in 9 1/2 hours. Good job Aidan! Also with us was his dad, Bruce (owner/manager of the lodge), and his nephew, Eric.

Alpine Conditions: Odaray Glacier (Aug 10)

It was "winter" today (Aug 10) up at the O'Hara zone. A dusting of snow is present, as of this afternoon, at treeline. We found a fresh 10cm of wet snow on the Odaray Glacier. The clag lifted enough to observe that the big rigs (ie- Victoria, Huber, Hungabee, Biddle) are caked in white. By the time I left at 4pm, it was still raining hard.

The original plan was Mt Victoria but bad weather had us executing Plan D! Natasha (13) and Alexander (9) had an adventursome day nonetheless. It is fun to get out with youth who are keen on the mountains.

Alpine Conditions: Wapta Icefield (July 27-Aug 1)

Just spent the past week at the Bow Hut for a Yamnuska "Intro to Mountaineering" course. Despite hot valley temperatures, it did not get too warm up on the glaciers with good supportive snow all day; even into the afternoon. On the other hand, the massive sun-cups made for an awkward stumble-fest. Over all, more-than-normal snow coverage on the glaciers for this time of year but where bare ice exists, the snow bridges / snow plugs are junk (ie - not supportive). We climbed Rhonda South (July 29) and Mt Olive (July 31), both offering straight forward ascents via their normal ridge routes.