February 24, 2011

Avalanche at Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake, next door in Yoho National Park, is one of the places you may have explored on your trip to the Rockies.  If you've hiked or snowshoed with us along the shore of the lake, you may remember the  really big open avalanche slope that runs from mountaintop to lake.

For most of the year, it's a pretty benign and peaceful spot.  You can stand at the bottom and look up at a sea of wildflowers in summer or a carpet of smooth snow in winter.  But on February 12, it came alive!

A really big snow slide carried snow and trees out onto the the lake with so much force that the ice fractured into hundreds of pieces.  Thankfully, it happened in the middle of the night.

The locals had never seen anything like it.  Some friends from Field sent us these pictures.

Next summer, it will be interesting to see how the forest in the upper part of the avalanche slope has been transformed!

Slide debris

Broken ice and open water - the lake was busted wide open!