Warm weather predictions across BC have prompted a province-wide avalanche warning from Avalanche Canada. The warning extends from the border with the Yukon to the US border, from the Pacific to the Rockies.
Forecast Program Supervisor James Floyer explains the reason for the wide-ranging warning.
“We’re looking at temperature going up as high as 10 degrees in the alpine which can have a dramatic impact on the snowpack.”
Floyer says, while the chance of triggering an avalanche hasn’t changed, warmer weather can mean bigger slides.
“When that degree of warming hits a snowpack that has some weak layers in it, you do have the possibility of initiating some very large avalanches. It’s not a very high probability scenario – it’s a slightly lower probability scenario of triggering a very large avalanche.”
Floyer says novices should wait a week before heading for the mountains.
“If you absolutely have to go, avoid travelling under avalanche paths is a really good idea,” he says. “Avoiding steep, south facing slopes is a really good idea right now and avoiding slopes that are threatened from cornices above you is also a good idea.”
Floyer also recommends that experienced backcountry enthusiasts start their climbs early, while it’s still cold, and aim to be out of avalanche territory by early afternoon.