Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

What is March like in the Canadian Rockies?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Canada and Alaska. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Canada and Alaska Climbing Partners forum.
 

What is March like in the Canadian Rockies?

Postby EverydayExplorer » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:23 am

I'm trying to plan a mid-March trip somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. I'm fairly new to the PNW and have no experience in the Canadian Rockies. I say this because I am still trying to get a feel for the seasons up north. I was looking at some of the ice climbs that Dow Williams has created and they look pretty intense in the good way. My question is, are those routes still solid in mid-March? If the ice is hit or miss mid-March do you guys have any other ideas for fun stuff to do up north? I'd say I'm a solid 5.8 alpine trad guy, average ice climber and have a propensity for backcountry type II fun.

-Jon

Dow's awesome group of ice climbs link

*updated for grammar
User Avatar
EverydayExplorer

 
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Thanked: 2 times in 1 post

Postby Bill Kerr » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:56 pm

Mid March is still full on winter in the Canadian Rockies but with more daylight hours and slightly warmer than Jan or Feb. We get more snow in March so alpine objectives are ski mountaineering orientated see Wapta icefield trip reports/mount Hector, etc.

Ice climbing is usually still quite good although can be somewhat hooked out on the popular routes. More snow can increase avalanche hazard and make access more difficult.
User Avatar
Bill Kerr

 
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:23 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanked: 16 times in 15 posts

Postby Brad Marshall » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:06 am

If you haven't already send Dow an email. There's a web site he told me about that posts reports on just the sort of ice climbs you might be looking for but I can't remember the name of it. Another source for mountain conditions in the Rockies is the ACMG site below:

http://www.acmg.ca/

Click on the "Mountain Conditions" tab and then select "View MCR Reports". The reports are listed by month/year and are posted by top notch guides such as Barry Blanchard and, although brief, contain valuable information.
User Avatar
Brad Marshall

 
Posts: 1948
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:54 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Thanked: 17 times in 15 posts

Postby Bill Kerr » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:16 pm

The site Brad was thinking about is http://www.gravsports-ice.com/icethreads/
which is run by Will Gadd and has all the latest on the ice climbing in the rockies.
User Avatar
Bill Kerr

 
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:23 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanked: 16 times in 15 posts

Postby EverydayExplorer » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:38 pm

Thanks all. All the help is appreciated.
User Avatar
EverydayExplorer

 
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:21 am
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Thanked: 2 times in 1 post

Postby MarthaP » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:30 am

Cold for sure. I attempted the Wapta Traverse in March a few years ago and while the snow was great, the overall conditions sucked. Weather was volatile at best, great snow on the glaciers, but with 0 visibility it was not an ideal situation. Still full avy consideration depending on where you are.

Soooo, we made it as far as Peyto and turned around and back to the Bow hut. It's like anything in the Rockies from N to S that time of year - be prepared for anything, especially to bail.

PS there's likely to be great ice somewhere there that time of year. The Icefields, Banff area, you name it. Canadian ice is a heck of a lot harder and more long-lasting than anything in the US.
User Avatar
MarthaP

 
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 1:13 pm
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Thanked: 4 times in 1 post

Postby Dow Williams » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:27 pm

Jon, thanks for the kind words.

Little secret few folks in the lower 48 know about. I grew up in the upper Midwest. Our summers were brutal, hot and humid (crops-rivers) and our winters likewise (-40f wind chill not uncommon). I lived in Canmore for six full winters backcountry skiing and ice climbing the whole time. Of course my American friends kidded me about igloos and such. The truth of the matter is that with Chinooks factored in (something you won't enjoy further east), the protection from the wind afforded on most ice routes, combined with the physicality of either sport, I was rarely cold even though I spent all my time outdoors. Living in Canmore is a lot warmer than living in Chicago, I believe if anyone wants to look it up, that is quite factual. Chicago is a windy city and at times humid. Calgary is more exposed to the wind. But I thought Canmore was downright warm and dry compared to other places I have lived in the lower 48. I concur if you are in the backcountry though, the weather can take you out in a heartbeat, that is what the Canadian Rockies are all about. The adventure of it all, deadly wildlife, deadly storms, deadly objective hazards.... March is the perfect time to climb ice by the way (more sun). Some of the great WI 6 pillars are short lived in January, but outside of that there is more ice than you can climb in a lifetime (and not see a soul within miles). Enjoy!
User Avatar
Dow Williams

 
Posts: 2349
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:59 pm
Location: Utah and Canadian Rockies
Thanked: 219 times in 101 posts

Postby MarthaP » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:29 am

Dow, you remind me of just how much I love the Canadian Rockies.

Any time of year, any excuse to get up there is worth it.
User Avatar
MarthaP

 
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 1:13 pm
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Thanked: 4 times in 1 post

Postby Dow Williams » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:31 pm

MarthaP wrote:Dow, you remind me of just how much I love the Canadian Rockies.

Any time of year, any excuse to get up there is worth it.


Take the time to check in with me Martha if you can, particulary in the summer where I am sure to be found in Canmore. Love sharing the place and stories with folks as into it as I am. Cheers.
User Avatar
Dow Williams

 
Posts: 2349
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:59 pm
Location: Utah and Canadian Rockies
Thanked: 219 times in 101 posts


Return to Canada and Alaska

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.