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Summer Avalanche in Rockies Injures Climber

Recent storms have left deep snow on many classic Rockies peaks

Mount Woolley and Diadem in summer 2018

The Canadian Rockies just had nearly a month of unsettled weather, which included a lot of snow at higher elevations and rain in the valleys. The fresh snow is a huge objective hazard that will remain a threat for the next few days.

On Diadem, one of the first 11,000ers in the Rockies that was climbed north of the Columbia Icefield, a climber was caught in a large avalanche on Saturday while climbing with a party. A third climber in the area alerted search and rescue.

Mountain guide Larry Stanier, who is based at Lake O’Hara, said in a conditions report, “The Huber and Odaray glaciers have perhaps the most snow I have ever seen at this time of year. The good news is the really good coverage over the crevasses and most schrunds and dry rock below 2,700m.”

Avalanche Canada’s warning for the summer: “The avalanche danger is variable and can range from Low to High. Travelling early in the day is recommended, as conditions can change rapidly in short periods of time due to daytime warming.

“Pay careful attention to the integrity of surface crusts formed overnight and rising air temperatures during the day. Dry slab avalanche danger may also exist during spring/summer snow storms.”

Avalanches, cornice failure, serac fall, weak crevasse snow bridges and rockfall are all hazards you need to be aware of in the mountains during summer. If it’s too hot, let the mountain shed a layer and climb when it’s cold.

Snow on the Icefields Parkway in July 2019