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Parks Canada Ruari Macfarlane, Parks Canada

Jasper National Park Avalanche Forecast

Oct 7th, 2019 5:49PM

The alpine rating is below threshold, the treeline rating is below threshold, and the below treeline rating is below threshold. Known problems include Wind Slabs, Loose Wet and Loose Dry.

Winter has sprung: Avalanche season is here in the Alpine. Glacier travel is also at its trickiest. Use our Weather Stations, and the ACMG's MCR for conditions; talk to people who have been out recently; or ask for Visitor Safety at 780-852-6155.

Summary

Weather Forecast

Expect the current alternation of cold fronts and sunny spells to continue. Watch out if fluctuating freezing levels, or rain, leave crusts - these may act as sliding layers down the road. Avalanche Canada offers a regional forecast (https://www.avalanche.ca/weather/forecast). Detailed local forecasts are available on SpotWX (https://spotwx.com/)

Snowpack Summary

An Autumn overview: (https://www.avalanche.ca/early-season-conditions).

Currently, Alpine areas above threshold for avalanches are widespread West of the 93N, but only isolated to the East. Many open crevasses are hidden by thin bridges of wind-blown snow. Roping up, diligent probing, and glacier reading experience are critical for glacier travel.

Avalanche Summary

Danger is highest after new snowfall, rain, or wind transport - expect increased avalanche activity during, & for 24 hrs after such events. Use extra caution where slabs lie over alpine ice -this surprised climbers on Mt Athabasca last year. Tis' the season: do your own avalanche forecasting; carry a transceiver, shovel & probe; and practice.

Confidence

Problems

Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

These have caught scramblers in places like the West bowl on Cavell, & alpine climbers on routes like Side Street. Hikers: avalanche hazard may exist on the Skyline trail. Ice climbers: consider overhead slopes, and wind-loaded slopes on approaches.

  • Give cornices a wide berth when traveling on or below ridges.
  • Use caution in lee and cross-loaded areas. Recent wind loading has created new wind slabs.

Aspects:

All aspects.

Elevations:

Alpine.

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2.5

Loose Wet

An icon showing Loose Wet

Sun, or fluctuating freezing levels can rapidly transform cold powder snow into moist mush. When this happens, natural avalanches will run in steep solar terrain. Avoid climbs with overhead hazard, or in gullies, when sun or soaring temps threaten.

  • Consider the consequences of a small avalanche, with thin snow barely covering rocks, etc.
  • Minimize exposure to sun exposed slopes when the solar radiation is strong.

Aspects:

East, South East, South, South West, West.

Elevations:

Alpine.

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2

Loose Dry

An icon showing Loose Dry

Recent snow and wind increase frequency of loose dry sluffs in steep, shaded terrain. With early season ice pro sometimes scarce, and tenuous pick placements, climbers should consider the risks of a sluff-induced fall if tapping up early season ice.

  • Use caution above cliffs where small avalanches may have severe consequences.
  • Be careful of loose dry power sluffing in steep terrain.

Aspects:

North, North East, East, North West.

Elevations:

Alpine.

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 1.5

Valid until: Oct 8th, 2019 5:49PM