Effective immediately, Avalanche Canada has issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users across the mountainous regions of western Canada, including Revelstoke. The warning is in effect until the end of Monday, May 1.
“A dramatic increase in temperatures is expected to destabilize the snowpack, resulting in dangerous, destructive avalanches,” Avalanche Canada communications coordinator Lisa Perazzoli wrote in an email to media.
Avalanche Canada said the sudden transition from cool to warm temperatures will create dangerous avalanche conditions, and the effect of the warm temperatures on existing snowpack structure means these avalanches will likely be large and may run to valley bottoms. Warming can also initiate large and destructive cornice falls, which can be destructive on their own or can act as a trigger for avalanches.
“Dangerous avalanche conditions exist for all mountainous regions in western Canada and the hazard increases with each day of warm air,” said Mike Conlan, a senior avalanche forecaster with Avalanche Canada. “Regions with persistent or deep persistent slab avalanche problems will be especially problematic, with avalanches potentially involving the full depth of the snowpack.”
As a result of the current conditions, back country users (including hikers, scramblers and anyone recreating in avalanche terrain) are being advised to leave a wide margin for error, stick to simple, low angle terrain, and void overhead avalanche hazards.
Backcountry users should always check the avalanche forecast at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the training to use it.