Here we are at the beginning of November, winter is just around the corner! Time to check out the weather forecasts and get the skis and ice climbing gear out of storage in anticipation of another great winter!
At the beginning of every season we at Canada West are doing everything we can to get ready. This includes the obvious – checking our gear, waxing skis, testing all of our Avalanche Transceivers, making sure our emergency kits are in proper order, plus more mundane pre-season tasks.
The other aspect of planning for the upcoming winter is to check in with everyone we know about early season conditions. This includes reviewing the past summer observations in regards to glacier conditions, late-summer snow coverage in the alpine, size and conditions of bergschrunds and crevasses, changes in icefall activity and any other observations that might be relevant to our winter travel plans.
A key observation this summer was a significant lack of alpine snowfall in September and October. There was one good snowfall in late September (had a lot of keeners skiing fresh powder in the first week of October!), but a dry October has pretty much done away with that coverage. This lack of early season snow, combined with some pretty boney glaciers showing a lot of big crevasses and expanding bergschrunds could be a cause for concern for early season glacier travel. I say “could” as we still may get a lot of snowfall in November, but it will be worth considering the snow coverage when you head out on the glaciers this winter.