Posts Tagged With: traversethecoast

North to Alaska


Thanks Stewart. It’s been a blast. We are heading out today for Hyder Alaska with Chris Ho. Thanks to Ryan and Erin Boyle for being the essential local connection here in town. Thanks too to Jackie for hanging out with us grizzly mountain folk and sharing the local stories with us!!

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End of Leg 3: Bella Coola to Terrace


Into and out of the Kitimat Ranges

Greetings from the traverse crew! We’ve been luxuriating in Terrace B.C. since our arrival from Bella Coola last week and are now about to human-propel ourselves to Stewart, which we will reach in 7-10 days.

With sad faces and full bellies we left Bella Coola and our new friends, Andrew and Sarah, and Duncan and Meghan, and took our first steps, or strokes, in our packrafts through Dean Channel and along Cascade Inlet. As we paddled alongside Pacific white-sided dolphins, we lazed in hot springs and gazed in wonder at petroglyphs and countless magnificent waterfalls. From the head of the inlet, we jumped right back into the mountain setting, where, after months of traversing, we feel at home.

As we descended from the mountains, the Kitlope River awaited. This was an important destination to me, as I had wanted to explore and witness firsthand the largest continuous tract of coastal rainforest in the world. Travelling the land as we have been doing for the past four months, we have become all too aware of the fact that are precious few places left where we humans have not had a destructive presence. Thanks to BC Parks, the Haisla people of Kitimat have protected this area from destruction so that future generations might have an understanding of wilderness. We feel blessed to have experienced it.

Then, three weeks into this section of our trip, our eyes fell downcast upon a massive blight: Kemano, an industrial development project built to service Alcan’s massive hydroelectric project, which energizes an aluminum smelter in Kitimat. Currently, Rio-Tinto Alcan is boring a second tunnel, which will increase smelter capacity by fifty percent. However, as the project pulls water from the Nechacko Reservoir, (a major tributary of the Fraser river) environmentalists are concerned as reduced flows along the Nechako River cause water temperature rises in the Fraser River, affecting salmon runs. As well, the Kemano project diverts the river’s snowmelt water through a mountain range and releases it into the ocean, bypassing salmon spawning grounds. This was a heavily contested project back in the 1990s, and the NDP government at the time rejected the expansion. Now, it is back with some changes, and in the face of projects like Enbridge and liquid natural gas plants, Kemano almost pales in comparison. That says a lot about the direction we are headed in conserving our environment.

Our plan was to pass through Kemano, and although we wrote countless letters to Kemano corporate affairs, they refused to grant us access on our human-powered journey. So, we hopped over it in a plane with Nick Hawes from Lakes District Air and started our ski traverse on the shores of Tahtsa Lake. For the following weeks, we had a new companion; a wolverine, whose fresh tracks paralleled ours everyday. We even had a close encounter one morning as it shuffled by our camp. Between bouts of never-ending rain, we had views of the Pacific Ocean and the interior plateau in this narrow section of the Coast Mountains. The rain, caused by this season’s unstable air masses, was a constant issue, once leaving us tent bound for a week and severely shortening our travel windows to grab moments between whiteouts and thunderstorms. Taking forced breaks was not so bad, but left us with hollow feelings, as what little remained of the winter snowpack disappeared into the adjacent rivers.

Eventually, the mountains gave way to logging roads and we reached Clore Creek and my beaming bride-to-be, Bridget. Terrace and civilization beckoned. Once there, the wonderful Collette and Duncan Stewart family took us in. Home cooking! However, Erica received news about a family emergency and headed to Arkansas to be with them. While we waited for her return, we debated how to continue because the mountains seemed to be quite barren of snow. Rallying some local skiers, we brainstormed how to travel through this now summery landscape. Erica has now returned and we are again about to step out into lands as-yet unknown—at least to us. For now, we say goodbye to the glaciers we have come to love.

Thanks to all in Terrace, including Guido, who teased us with a protest against traversing while we were here, chanting “Terrace townies are up and downies” and “This ski traverse is perverse.” His issues with ski traversing fell on compassionate ears as we pledged to return to the Terrace mountains to do some ‘real’ (aka downhill) skiing. We leave Terrace with bodies strong and minds inspired to send some more wilderness!

If you love our planet and our glaciers as much as we do, click here to have a look at a wonderful website by Matt Beedle, a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions  Graduate Fellow and a PhD candidate at the University of Northern British Columbia. As well, James Blalog’s TED presentation is a must watch. Finally, I have strung together some videos of our trip from the past 5 weeks. The first is a video of some visuals I strung together of our journey. These are also some reviews of our gear that has failed: Arc’teryx Arrakis 65L BackpackDynafit Speed Radical 10 bindings and Exped 7UL sleeping mat.

Our thanks to everyone who is supporting us and who we met including:
Bridget Mcclarty
Dale Douglas@ Tyax Air
Nick Hawes @ Lakes District Air
Jonas Hoke, Chief Meteorologist
Nicole Koshure, our weather girl
Tim Blair
Jia Condon
Matty Richard
Ian “Cheddar” Watson
Jeff Rabinovitch
James Retty & The Escape Route
Irene Isacs
Andrew & Sarah in Bella Coola
Grant in Bella Coola
Norm and Denice Bougie
Lee Lau
Nirvana Pass ski crew
Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Julia Fesenko @ Inreach
Air Blaster Ninja Suits
Red Shed’s (Williams Lake)
Staff &friends@Tweedsmuir Lodge
Jasmin Dobson
Dave Treadway
Jon Johnston
Whistler Blackcomb
Tracey “Trix” Kindrachuck
Rod Gee
Lena Rowat
Chris Michalak
Chris Ho
Erin and Ryan Boyle
Wayne Flann
Marcus Waring
Lorne Graham
Tim Smith
Michael Coyle
Jamie Bond
Jerome David
Leonard Maloney
Meghan Cornish & Duncan
Clarence @ Tsayta Air
Neil Mueller
Bobbi and Earl @ Pitt Lake Water Taxi
Eric Hoji & Jen Ashton
Sam @ Surefoot Whistler
Mike King @ Whitesaddle Air
Sarah Heck
Sarah Schoen
Jeff Crompton
Neil Waggoner
Jeremy Wood
Shasta McNasta
Whitney Rapp
Kristy Deyong
Andor Tari @ Sage Advice
Sky & Garret @ Talheo Lodge
Collette & Duncan Stewart
Maureen
Guido, Matt and Lazlo who came out to share their local mountain knowledge

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End of Leg 2


“Poets try and take something abstract, like an idea, and make it concrete, whereas admirers of mountains try to take something huge made of rock and ice and snow and turn it into an abstraction they can carry around in their minds, a mental key chain for a place that is hard to get to but gorgeous to think about.”

Ian Brown, who wrote that piece in the Globe and Mail, made no mention of the people who occupy the middle ground between poets and mountain admirers, people I have come to know as “Traversers”. Traversers take an idea, like a route on a map, and make it concrete by traveling, or traversing, through it. We are modern day explorers, adventurers or whatever word creatively labels us Traverser types. As such, we began with an abstract dream and have now reached a concrete destination, Bella Coola, where the team now rests.

In our two months in the wild, we have taken on the personas of our animal spirits. Erica is a mix of the fox and unicorn, known as a Foxicorn, Mike is the Mountain Goat, and I have adopted the Hoary Marmot. Along the way, we’ve had an outpouring of support from our friends, family, loved ones, friendly townsfolk, and worried strangers, not to mention all our Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest pinners, fellow bloggers, sponsors, private ski backers and disappointed employers.

Sitting here in the comforts of town, I find it a bit awkward to write publicly about our journey as I have been immersed in an insular world of three to six fellow mountain traversers for months now. We’ve had a strong, shared sense of community, without which our traversing days would be over. Together, we share our daily adversities and triumphs like trail mix at snack time. Travelling with such a great group of folks has been an honour and a pleasure and I wish they could all still be out with Mike, Erica and me.

We have had good, bad and blow-you-over-sideways weather, and the food has been fine, despite the 10 pounds of weight I have lost. Although we should be able to get through any situation, given our iPhones paired with satellite text messaging and Google Earth, the reality is, however, that we are incredibly vulnerable. If we run out of food, we do not know enough to forage for grub to sustain ourselves. Nor do we have the ability to craft snowshoes from cedar bark when all our bindings break, as happened. Luckily, in that case, I was able to hitch a ride to Whistler and Vancouver to round up ski equipment still lingering on retailers’ shelves to replace Dynafit skis and bindings, Black Diamond skins, an Arcteryx backpack and Exped mats (thanks Escape Route). We’ve also had our share of injuries (blisters, frostbite, swelling, sunburn and stove burns), but all have been manageable in the field. Those humbling events remind us how vulnerable we are when we start feeling too good sometimes about how easy traversing is. They’ve also taught us not to rely on one plan or one single piece of gear in these remote regions. We’ve also learned to constantly adapt our approach to our traverse by evolving our route plan and improvising as needed, such as making gear repairs in the field. As well, for our next section, we have amended our route to compensate for the below average snowpack.

We will continue to change our plans, as Reverend Robert Rundle, an early missionary in Rupert’s Land who traveled through the Canadian Rockies extensively, and for whom Mt. Rundle is named, said, “Much depends on the state of the atmosphere”.

On Tuesday, April 30, we leave Bella Coola. Once again, we will penetrate a deep, harsh and remote environment. We better get used to remoteness—in our planned six months of travel, we will pass through only five towns. This time, we’re trading glaciers for rivers and oceans and skis for packrafts.

As we embark, I feel my spirit animal shape shifting into the river otter (minus their mating habits), the highly specialized amphibious mammal perfectly at home in a variety of environments.

Click here to watch a short video highlighting some of the landscapes we have been moving through, in no particular order, and here to watch my review of the Delorme Inreach we have been using on this trip.

Thanks for checking in on us. Please feel free to leave a comment. None of this traverse would be possible without the help and support of the folks and shops mentioned below. Thank you.

For something is there,/Something is there when nothing is there but itself,/that is not there when anything else is. Mary Oliver.

Bridget McClarty
Jeff Rabinovitch
Dale Douglas @ Tyax Air
Nick Hawes @ Lakes District Air
Jonas Hoke, Chief Meteorologist
Nicole Koshure, our weather girl
Tim Blair
Jia Condon
Matty Richard
Ian “Cheddar” Watson
James Retty & The Escape Route
Irene Isacs
Norm and Denice Bougie
Lee Lau
Nirvana Pass ski crew
Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Julia Fesenko @ Inreach
Air Blaster Ninja Suits
Red Shred’s (Williams Lake)
Staff &friends @ Tweedsmuir Lodge
Jasmin Dobson
Dave Treadway
Jon Johnston
Whistler Blackcomb
Tracey “Trix” Kindrachuck
Rod Gee
Lena Rowat
Chris Michalak
Chris Ho
Erin and Ryan Boyle
Wayne Flann
Lorne Graham
Tim Smith
Michael Coyle
Jamie Bond
Jerome David
Leonard Maloney
Meghan Cornish & Duncan
Clarence Tsayta Air
Neil Mueller
Bobbi and Earl “Pitt lake water taxi”
Eric Hoji & Jen Ashton
Sam @ Surefoot Whistler
Mike King @ Whitesaddle Air
Sarah Heck
Sarah Schoen
Jeff Crompton
Neil Waggoner
Jeremy Wood
Shasta McNasta
Whitney Rapp
Kristy Deyong
Andor Tari (Sage Advice)

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Leg 2, Part 1


Bridget’s Story
Perhaps the allure of the wolverine attracted me to this trip from Whistler to Bella Coola on skis. I have always admired this animal and have always wanted to travel like the Gulo gulo: I had a romantic desire to travel through wild places, have the freedom to roam through an often-inhospitable landscape and feel the pervasive hunger for…food.  

In the city, I had blithely convinced myself that my daily cycle commute of 20 km at sea level would make me fit enough for this alpine trip. Maybe—if I wasn’t carrying half my body weight on my back and climbing 1,500 m for the first few days into the trip. Reality set in as quickly as fatigue, and when we happened to run into our friend Wango on location with a film crew, it was all I could do to refrain from smuggling myself onto the ride back to Whistler.

april 17 1Life became easier, partially when we had a forced stay at a series of hotsprings and huts (and celebrated a birthday) when a Pineapple Express weather cycle descended upon us. When it ended, we continued, and when we arrived on the Bridge Glacier in sunshine, we said adieu to Jeremy and Neil as they continued on their own adventures. Once our Alaskan friends left, we did not see other humans, nor any human signs until I left the group a couple of weeks later. Until that point, we encountered many snowmobile tracks but no signs of wildlife at all. Where was my alluring wolverine?

april 17 3

For this second segment of the traverse, we planned to cover an average of 10 km each day, but Mike, Erica, and Ryan experienced so much stormy weather during the first segment of the traverse from Pitt Lake to Whistler, that they were fired up to “make hay” whenever possible. With our good weather and lovely icefield traveling, we certainly motored along and covered more ground than we planned.

Mornings can be tough, but not with Erica’s motivations. She. Is. A. Powerhouse. Every day without fail, Erica was the first to rise and get us moving, from making breakfast to breaking trail. I was amazed by this person, who speaks candidly of sparkles and unicorns, yet has the mental and physical strength and stamina I have rarely seen before.

As my legs and mind became stronger, I immersed myself in the meditative daily existence of traveling on skis through a landscape that became increasingly impressive. The rhythm of each step, step, step became minutes, then hours, days and weeks. I came to love breaking down of camp each morning into packs and sleds, traveling quietly with intermittent snack breaks and conversation, and eventually setting up a new camp for some well-deserved food, conversation, and rest. Rise. Repeat.

april 17 2

Cresting one of the glaciers of the Homathko Icecap, I felt strong, exuberant and alive as I looked up and saw the Waddington group for the first time. After spending days on an expansive white landscape with island peaks, we had arrived at the heart of the Coast Mountain Range. The contrast in landscapes was astonishing: wild, jagged peaks surrounded us, creating a seemingly impenetrable wall.

Then, my moment came. I noticed a clear line of fresh tracks: they climbed out of the steep valley, across the glacier, bisected our route and continued across and over the mountain. Clearly, these were the tracks of someone on a mission. It was my wolverine, traveling faster, farther, and more efficiently than any of us ever will and carrying neither shelter nor food—she was just doing what she does every single day: living.

Seeing those tracks in that place was humbling: I felt humbled by the magnitude of the landscape, by the strength of my companions, and by the very presence of this solitary animal. The simple realization that such an elusive individual can still find a place wild enough to support her existence is enough to give me hope for our future.

Thanks to:
Ian “Cheddar” Watson (guardian angel)
Red Shreds Bike & Board Shed (Williams Lake)
Surefoot (Whistler)
Escape Route (Whistler)
Mike King (White Saddle Air)

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Bridget, Mike, Erica and I are doing well.  We sat out the foul weather last week in the Meager and Keyhole Hotsprings. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Neil departed to ski Mt. Athelstan and hopefully Plinth.  We had a great time with them from Whistler. We all wish they could go further with us.

March 19 Tuesday march 19b

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End of Leg 1: Pitt Lake to Whistler


The first leg of our journey, from the north end of Pitt Lake, just outside Vancouver, B.C., started after weeks of dry weather. On Sunday, February 17, three of us, Mike, Erica and Ryan, boated to the north end of the lake, along with captain Leonard and Ryan’s fiancé Bridget, marking the start of our journey to Alaska. There, by the Pitt River hot springs, under clouds hiding the tops of the snow-covered peaks, we spent the first night chomping Subway sandwiches. The next morning, we hiked up to the upper cutblock in the rain, marking the end of the dry spell. The following day brought us to the glacier at the head of the Misty Icefield.

The Misty Icefield became our home for the next little while, as it lived up to its name with hurricane-force winds and zero visibility, making travel over the icefield and negotiating crevasses too hazardous. For the next four nights, until the weather cleared, we read, slept and played rousing games of ‘Pigs’ in our three-person tent and doled out our seven days of food carefully. As we were not expending too much energy, due to a lack of exercise (and therefore lowered energy requirements), this was not too hard. To ration our precious fuel, we passed on hot meals and used only as much as we needed to melt snow for drinking water.

Finally, on Saturday,  February 23, our sixth day, the visibility improved enough to move, and our crew set up camp just below Snowcap Peak. Alas, high winds returned. They were not nearly as strong as the winds we experienced on the Misty Icefield, but at speeds of over 100 km/hour, combined with low visibility, they made the risk of traveling over the glaciated terrain less than optimal. Snowcap Peak camp became our home for the next three nights.

By Tuesday, the weather cleared enough to move camp, but with a weather forecast of continued stormy weather, we decided to change our route plan to exit via the Cheakamus Lake trail. The lake was still a long way off, and due to dwindling food and fuel supplies, we needed to get lower to make sure we could keep moving. Rather than negotiating the glaciated alpine terrain of Snowcap peak in the still poor visibility, we descended the east side of the aptly named Misery Summit of Snowcap and traveled through the valley bottom for two days to Snowcap Lake.

There we were hit by a massive storm that dumped almost 2 metres of snow, making us tent bound once again. From Wednesday to Saturday, the rumble of nearby avalanches kept us up at night. Otherwise, we spent our days and nights brushing snow off the tent to keep it from collapsing, as we cocooned in our now smelly, but cozy tent.

On Saturday night, the weather cleared and early Sunday we headed out, negotiating over avalanche debris from slopes that had avalanched on every aspect and at every elevation. By day’s end, we reached Veeocee Col and the entrance to the Cheakamus Valley and the last bit of the first leg of our journey.

On Monday morning, we ate breakfast and made our way to Whistler. At 5 p.m., on the east side of Cheakamus Lake, we met Bridget and Jasmin, who brought us a meal of meat and sweets. Together, we five arrived in high spirits in Whistler later that night. After a good night’s sleep, we began packing for Leg 2, which will take us to Bella Coola, on B.C.s northwest coast, along with Neil Waggoner, Jeremy Wood (from Alaska) and Bridget McClarty.

Today, Thursday, March 7, we’ll be heading up the Callaghan Valley, over the Pemberton Icecap and up the Lillooet Valley, towards Bella Coola. We’ve had an awesome time in Whistler, and we loved seeing our friends, but it’s time to head out.

We owe BIG BIG thanks to Jerome David, who graciously and generously opened his Whistler home to seven dirtbags for the last week!  Merci beaucoup, notre ami.

Also, big thanks to all our supporters and helpers including:

Marcus Waring
Ian “cheddar” Watson
Dave Treadway
Leonard Maloney
Meagan and Duncan in Bella Coola
Clarence
Chris Ho
Jeremy McCall
Irene Isacs
Bobbi and Earl “Pitt Lake water taxi”
James Retty
Jeff Rabinovitch
Eric Hoji & Jen Ashton
Lee Lau
Jasmin Dobson
AirBlaster Ninja Suits

We’ll post again when we reach Bella Coola in about a month. Our map may sometimes give our position away, sometimes not. No news is good news is our motto.

Onwards!

Before we got skinny!

Before we got skinny!

What are we getting into?

What are we getting into?

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The Prequel


“Mike and Erica want to traverse the Coast Mountains, and they’ve asked me to join them.”  Ryan said to me in the fall of last year.

As soon as Ryan told me this, I knew he would go. And so, five months ago, after unwinding from an incredible summer we spent tripping in the Canadian Arctic, and after starting the paramedic program, Ryan started amassing food and gear for this trip.  By Halloween, our tiny urban living room began to look like a Famous Foods warehouse: whole milk powder, coconut milk powder, oatmeal, rice, couscous, quinoa, noodles, tea, coffee, vitamins, tomato sauce, energy bars, nuts, raisins, chocolate, honey, peanut butter… and butter. So much butter. Even our refrigerator quickly became divided into trip/non-trip foods.  And then there was the cooking—every day, I would return home after work to the delicious aroma of food cooking in the crockpot… food we would not be eating for dinner: it was ‘trip food’.  Over many weeks, massive volumes of sauces, soups, fruit, meat, and vegetables were reduced to almost nothing, thanks to the miracle of food dehydrators.

On Halloween, Mike and Erica came from Alaska to visit us in Vancouver and to start preparing in earnest for this trip.  Ryan and Mike have a long history of trips together, and I had met and skied with Mike a couple of years ago in Whistler.  They are ideal trip mates. Neither Ryan nor I had ever met Erica, but within minutes of meeting her, she excitedly whipped out her ‘cotton candy’ costume, complete with pink tutu, tights, and a large pink cone hat.  Needless to say, she would add a vital component to the team—fun!

As I watched these three cement their bonds as they planned, I was left with the dreaded FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out. Then, in January, I obtained permission for a six-week leave of absence from my teaching position in Vancouver.  That’s when I finally became excited about the trip too and allowed myself to be swept away by Ryan’s endless river of excitement, energy and enthusiasm.  My apprehension of spending six months apart from Ryan was gone and now, I am counting down the days until I join them for a very special six weeks.

I know they will succeed, not in any small part because of Ryan. In many ways, he is an enigma.  On the one hand, he is a dreamer and a visionary, but he is a pragmatist who understands the importance of details.  Ryan also brings incredible drive and ambition, but never at the expense of the group.  Ryan’s resolve only strengthens when he encounters barriers: When others tell him that a trip is impossible, Ryan does everything in his power to make it happen.  His gift is that he sees all problems as puzzles and uses his creativity to solve them. His endless stamina, optimism, and infectious joie de vivre make him an ideal partner.

Last Sunday, as I watched the three heading up the road, north of Pitt Lake, to spend their first night camping by the hot springs, I thought of my last conversation with Erica.  She admitted that the concept of this six-month ‘mega-expedition’ was completely overwhelming and she would simply focus on putting one foot in front of the other, over and over, every day…which is exactly what she is doing right now.  And eventually, they will reach Alaska.

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We’re leaving tomorrow!


We’re ready! We’ve made the final touches, mailed out packages and moved belongings into storage. Tomorrow, we start our journey by boating up Pitt Lake. We plan to reach Whistler around February 25, where a few more members of the team will join us.

Look for our position updates and send us messages on our Delorme Map Share page here: https://share.delorme.com/194440ba2c0e43b7bdcd80bd4726dfdf
The password is chemistry.

We went to a friend’s presentation yesterday about a very inspiring trip they did last year. You can read more here: http://carolineandpat.wordpress.com/

A list of thank yous keeps growing, so I’ll try to rattle off some names to the ever expanding list. You all know who you are.

Norm and Denice Bougie
Bridget Mcclarty
Jasmin Dobson
Dave Treadway
Jon Johnston
Whistler Blackcomb
Tracey “Trix” Kindrachuck
Rod Gee
Lena Rowat
Tim Blair
Chris Michalak
Chris Ho
Erin and Ryan Boyle
Wayne Flann
Dale Douglas
Lorne Graham
Jia Condon
Irene Isac’s
Tim Smith
Jerome David
Michael Coyle (true north geospatial)
Ian “Cheddar” Watson
Jonas Hoke
Nicole Koshure
Jeff Rabinovich
Pat and Caroline
Meghan in Bella Coola
Julia Franseko (in-reach Canada)
Leonard Maloney
John Scurlock

I just read an interesting article rating this winter as one of the most boring winters in history. Rounding out the top three was the year a group made this trip across the coast range.
http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-most-boring-winter-in-seattle.html

Coming soon: A bio of who we are as a group, which we will work on. Basically, we are each taking a leave of absence from regular life and embarking on the trip of a lifetime.

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Snowpack status and outlook


Looks like our team is rolling 7’s with the conditions this year. The last 3 years have been pretty similar with above average accumulations and none existent spring high pressure’s. Let this be the year to traverse the coast. The information below was taken from http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/bulletins/watersupply/current.htm

Current Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin

The February 1st snow survey is now complete. Data from 107 snow courses and 53 snow pillows around the province and out-of-province sampling locations, and climate data from Environment Canada, have been used to form the basis for the following reports.

Weather
Stable weather conditions prevailed across British Columbia through January. High pressure ridging in the middle of the month created prolonged dry weather and inverted temperatures, with above freezing temperatures above snowline elevations. Conditions were much drier than normal across the province throughout the month. Temperatures were +1 – 3 ̊C above normal through most areas of the province, with some low elevation regions in south-west BC having below normal temperatures.

Snowpack
Due to drier conditions, most regions saw below normal snow accumulation and a decline in snow basin indices through the month of January. Snow basin indices ranged from a low of 78% of normal, to a high of 116%. Drier conditions are prevalent through west-central and north-west British Columbia, including the Nechako, Middle Fraser (Chilcotin), Central Coast and Skeena-Nass basins. Snow packs are above normal (>110%) in the Okanagan-Kettle and South Coast regions, and near normal or slightly below normal (85-110%) through the rest of the province.

BC Snow Basin Indices – February 1, 2013

Basin
% of Normal

Basin

% of Normal

Upper Fraser

86%

Kootenay

97%

Nechako

78%

Okanagan-Kettle

116%

Middle Fraser

83%

Similkameen

89%

Lower Fraser

103%

South Coast

113%

North Thompson

94%

Vancouver Island

107%

South Thompson

109%

Peace

90%

Columbia

93%

Skeena-Nass

84%

Outlook
This season has favored neutral El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions, with near normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Current forecasts from the Climate Prediction Centre with the U.S. National Weather Service (NOAA) favour neutral conditions into the spring of 2013. This suggests that current ocean conditions favour normal seasonal weather conditions. Current 3-month seasonal forecasts (February through April) from Environment Canada are fairly neutral, with similar likelihoods of above-normal, below-normal or normal precipitation and temperature. A slight increased likelihood of below normal temperatures is forecast for south-west BC. Current short-term weather forecasts indicate a period of high pressure across most of the province to the middle of February, and limited snowfall is expected.

By this date, generally about two-thirds of the annual BC snowpack has accumulated. While there is still two and a half months left in the snow accumulation season, given current short-term and seasonal outlooks, the current snowpack is not expected to change significantly over the remainder of the season. At this point there are no strong indications of a high likelihood of extreme wet or dry seasonal weather through the rest of the accumulation season. Unless the region experiences some late-season Pacific storm cycles, dry conditions are likely to persist in the Nechako, Central Coast, Skeena-Nass, and Middle Fraser. Normal conditions are expected to persist in other regions. While possible, heavy snow pack accumulation over the remainder of the season is unlikely.

In general snow packs across the province are below levels that were observed last year (see snow basin graphs below). Below normal seasonal flows during freshet and into summer are likely in the west-central region of the province (Nechako, Middle Fraser, Central Coast, Skeena-Nass). Above normal seasonal flow, and the potential for elevated seasonal flood risk, is possible in the Okanagan basin. Above normal seasonal flow is also expected in the Lower Fraser, South Coast and Vancouver Island, however these regions tend to have limited flood potential in the spring, and current snow packs are not expected to have a significant impact on seasonal flood risk. Normal seasonal flow and seasonal flood risk is likely through the rest of the province.

Snow data reporting has been adjusted for this snow bulletin (attached) and this format will be used through the remainder of this snow season. The River Forecast Centre is currently estimating values for 6 snow pillows, and the February 1st, 2013 estimates can be found in Table 1.

The next snow bulletin will be released on March 7th, 2013.

Produced by: BC River Forecast Centre
February 8, 2013

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Early February updates


.

The month of our departure has arrived. Everything is coming to together for our team. The Alaskans Mike and Erica showed up on Friday at Vancouver International with a mountain of gear and food. Things are a little busy for me as I am finishing up a practicum working with B.C Ambulance. By all accounts we are on track and under budget for a February 17 departure from Pitt Lake. Michael has made our proposed route map that you can view on Google Earth here http://bit.ly/12jOy58
Of course, we are not undertaking this project alone and our thank you list keeps building by the day. As of right now we are teaming up with Michael Coyle and True North Geospatial in developing some custom maps using his state of the art technology. You can check their company website here http://www.TrueNorthGeospatial.com/
It’s still in testing right now but I think this is another large advancement in cartography for many different user groups.
We are also teaming up with De-Lorme In-reach Canada. We are going to be thoroughly testing their two way satellite messenger and tracking device in the remoteness of applications. Blogging from beyond I’d like to coin it! We are hoping Rio Tinto Alcan decides to support our group by allowing us to cross their property in the Kemano site outside Kitimat B.C. Crazy to think that this is even an issue but so far we have been told we cannot ski traverse the Coast Mountains around Kemano, which is owned by Rio Tinto Alcan. So we will have to wait and see how this issue progresses.
We are being joined by a few more folks on our traverse in Whistler but this number keeps evolving so I won’t say anymore about that just yet. While most of you powder hungry skiers are hoping for the never ending storm I am hoping for this below average snowpack “La Nada” season to continue, allowing us favourable travel conditions. This truly is the most ambitious undertaking I have ever committed to and am extremely excited to begin our long traverse of the Coast Mountain range of B.C and Alaska. Please continue to follow along with our blog if you are interested. For all the critics out there I ask that you please retreat back to your secluded internet forums and keep your opinions amongst yourselves because there is no hope of killing our team’s enthusiasm. Skiing has been my own way of experiencing and relating to the world around me. It has taught me more than any other medium could ever achieve. Through skiing I have met some of the most selfish people in the world as well as some of the most generous. This is my first blog and it is my attempt at giving what I can back to the world. Most people reading this blog will not be able to fathom what it takes to initiate a trip of this magnitude. I hope I can relate to you some of our struggles, triumphs, failures and wow moments over the next 6 months.

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Categories: Posts from the field | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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