Icefields Parkway Go - No Go Thread


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Peakz's picture
Joined: 2002-08-22

Has anyone been up the parkway recently that can confirm accumulation amounts on the glaciers? Would like to know how the Wapta and/or Athabasca glaciers are doing.



MtnManJake (not verified)
From the MCR....A group of

From the MCR....

A group of Thompson Rivers University students and instructors finished a few days of mountaineering in Jasper on October 3rd, camping at the Icefields campground and climbing in the Athabasca area.  Generally conditions were quite dry, with lots of exposed ice.  Recent minor snowfall had accumulated on lee slopes and was enough to fill hollows on the glaciers and hide crevasses with thin snow cover.  A larger snowfall on the night of October 2nd has now altered conditions considerably.
We climbed the Silverhorn route on Mt. Athabasca on October 1, and except for a few deep (up to 1 meter) loaded pockets at the base of the route, it was bare brittle ice the whole way up, for about 10 rope lengths.  Cold temps (-10 to -12 C) and windy!  We decided against the ramp route descent due to the obvious snow loading from the moderate southwest winds.  We descended the skier's right side of the AA Col, down snow covered scree, and did a half rope-length belayed downclimb over the well covered bergschrund (covered with rocks, snow, ice).  I have attached a photo of both sides of the AA Col from October 1.  It snowed 10-15 cm at the Icefields campground on the night of October 2nd, so the attached photo shows condition prior to the last snowfall. 
Groups also climbed Boundary Peak, and conducted practice sessions on the toe of the Athabasca Glacier as well as on the climber's right side of the North Glacier on Mt. Athabasca.  I have attached a couple photos to show the excellent practice crevasse / millwell  that can be accessed from the toe of the Athabasca Glacier, in about the center of the glacier, just past the second glaciology pole. 
There is enough snow now for avalanches to be a concern, especially on loaded lee slopes.  A ride in an avalanche could result in a fall into one of the numerous crevasses or over a cliff. 
Glacier travel will be difficult, with numerous hidden crevasses under the new snow.  Roped travel and probing ahead is highly recommended.
Thompson Rivers University Adventure Studies:
Iain Stewart-Patterson - Mountain Guide
Jordy Shepherd - Mountain Guide
Abby Watkins - ACMG Alpine Guide / Assistant Ski Guide
Jeff Honig - Mountain Guide
Craig McGee - Mountain Guide