Avalanche warning for the Sea to Sky due to warm temperatures

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Sea to Sky
The views out over towards the Howe Sound from Mount Harvey, where five people died in 2017 when a cornice, or overhang, gave way and the group fell about 500 metres.
Photo: FILE PHOTO/LEIGH AND SPRING MCCLURG

While the warm weather is welcome to many in Squamish, it can lead to danger in the backcountry.

Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada, has issued a special public avalanche warning for recreational backcountry users.

This warning applies to the Sea to Sky.

The nice weather is partially to blame as the warmer temperatures increase the likelihood of avalanches throughout the mountains.

The Environment Canada forecast for Squamish is for temperatures of 21°C through to Thursday. 

“This is the first big warming to hit our snowpack, which is still fairly complex and winter-like,” said senior avalanche forecaster Grant Helgeson, in an Avalanche Canada news release. “Any time the snowpack is hit with a big change, it tends to de-stabilize. The temperatures are forecast to increase substantially this week, with no nighttime cooling. This will weaken the snowpack on all aspects, increasing the possibility of large natural avalanches as well making it easier for the weight of a person to trigger deeper weak layers.”

Happening right when students are on spring break in B.C., it means that more people out on local mountains too.

For those who plan to head out into the backcountry, ensure the right rescue gear is packed, including a transceiver, probe, and shovel.

Stay well away from avalanche slopes, including overhead hazard such as cornices.

Keep an eye on avalanche forecasts online