Community Survey Historical avalanche Information

Ranger Creek Ice Climbs

Lone Ranger, Chalice and the Blade/Spoon R and D

Survey Results:

Ranger Creek is a popular venue for early season ice climbs. It has serious avalanche terrain above and below the climbs. Climbers frequent these routes primarily between October and December, when the snowpack is minimum.

Avalanche size and frequency has been summarized for this early season timeframe and not beyond that, when avalanche activity is likely much higher and greater.

Popularity

54 people completed the survey

50% climbed 1-5 times

33% climbed 6–10 times 

17% climbed over 10 times

Avalanche Frequency:

57% of respondents saw avalanche debris on approach 

39% witnessed or experienced avalanches

Time of Year and Day

94% of respondents climbed in October and November  

73% climbed from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Avalanche Start Zones

57% started above climb 

27% well above climb 

7% below climb

Run-out debris:

32% ran over the climb to base

32% ran 50–100 m past climb

28% ran over 100 metres past climb

Debris has been seen as far as the choke point of the valley. Debris amounts and distance has indicated large (Size 3) avalanches.

Reported Avalanches and Incidents:

These avalanches were reported in the survey: 

  • Size 2 avalanche over R and D while climbing. Belayer endured avalanche but wasn’t swept or buried due to rope connecting them. Bruises from rocks and debris.
  • Below Chalice and the Blade, hit from above and swept down the slope.
  • Lone Ranger one almost full burial and two partial burials
  • Rescued people on route and responded to an avalanche involving six people
  • Climber triggered on approach to R and D directly below climb. Lost gear, experienced minor injuries.
  • While on Chalice, witnessed two Size 2 avalanches to our right.
  • Smaller multiple avalanches around R and D
  • Size 1 over R and D
  • On approach kicked off small 0.5
  • Buried to knees at base of Lone Ranger
  • Many sluffing, and spin drift
  • Witnessed Size 3 from the road.

Contributing Factors: 

  1. Winds: gullies above climbs affected by lee deposits and high winds, makes walk-offs less desirable.
  2. New snow amounts: these are often greater than recorded at the nearby Mud Lake and Burstall Pass weather stations
  3. Solar effect or warming: one person noted inversions for the area as something to be aware of.

Human factors:

  • Can be a very busy area in early season with people waiting in line for climbs and climbing at all hours throughout the day.
  • Most climbers are very aware of avalanche hazard, approach the area with caution, and respect and limit exposure once snow is at threshold for avalanches.
  • Most climbers consider themselves to be very conservative in their approach to climbing in the area. 
  • With this said, many have also experienced or witnessed avalanches in the area.
Climbs viewed from Chester Lake photo Credit Barry Blanchard.

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