Columbia Icefields Jasper National Park
Kris Irwin , Saturday 8th May, 2021 2:00PM
We took advantage of a good weather window May 4-6 to climb and ski some peaks on the Columbia Icefields. It still felt like winter above 3000m with approximately 20cm of new snow that fell throughout the day on the 4th with moderate winds from the west and temperatures down to -12c on the evening/morning of the 4th. The snow settled quickly and travel was excellent on the 5th and 6th with mostly clear skies and light winds. We summited North Twin, Twins Tower, South Twin, and turned around halfway up West Twins east face due to a burried 40cm windslab sitting on a crust that was giving us planar shears in a test profile. The North ridge of South Twin required crampons and axe for a 60m section of thin snow over hard alpine ice. Ski quality above and below this section was good. Good steps in 20-30cm of wind pressed snow on the slopes from North Twin to Twins Tower. We also ascended Mt Kitchener and Snowdome on the morning of the 6th.
As you would expect, snow depth varied. We probed 150cm at the top of the Athabasca icefall, 70cm near the summit of Snowdome, and over our probe length of 330cm in several areas along the flats between the top of the Athabasca and The Twins. The ramp through the icefall is more filled in then I have seen it at this time of year and you can currently ski to the toe of the Athabasca. There were several parties on Mt. Columbia that reported good conditions.
Lots of exposed ice on Andromeda’s North Bowl and Skyladder routes as well as North face of Athabasca and Silverhorn.
Kris Irwin - Alpine Guide
Darren Vonk - Alpine Guide
Vincent Lauzon - Apprentice Rock Guide
Source: Mountain Conditions