Spring conditions

Argentine / Sonata icefield North Columbia

Christian Schlumpf , Thursday 28th April, 2022 8:45AM

Just got back from a fantastic skiing & camping trip to the Argentine / Sonata icefield zone in the Northern Selkirks from April 21-26. Our main concerns were cornices, crevasses, and increasing avalanche hazard with daytime warming / solar input.

April 21-22: Variable weather and 15-20cm new snow with little wind. The snow remained dry on shaded aspects down to ~2000m. On solar aspects there were a variety of crusts but they appeared well bonded to overlying snow.

April 23: Partly cloudy skies allowed us to summit Mt Argentine, albeit with many moments of flat light. We found as little as 250cm snow on the lower icefield but more higher up - crevasses were well bridged. Settled powder on high shaded aspects made for excellent skiing. At ~3PM a small loose wet avalanche cycle began on steep South and West aspects.

April 24: Clear skies and good overnight freeze. We climbed onto the Sonata icefield, finding dry snow on a high NE slope. Solar slopes had formed a mostly supportive melt-freeze crust that provided good corn skiing at ~1PM. Again, ~3PM was the time we saw a small avalanche cycle from daytime warming.

April 25-26: Mostly cloudy weather and mediocre overnight freezes made it challenging to find good snow. Lower elevation shaded aspects had formed a crust too.

Enjoy the rest of spring!

Christian Schlumpf
Jeff Bullock
Josh Majorossy


Source: Mountain Conditions