Canada: 2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination

11:40  18 may  2019
11:40  18 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Photo shows the back side of Joffre Peak north of Pemberton before and after a massive landslide on Monday. The extremely popular Joffre Lakes trail is on the other side of the mountain and was not impacted. Natural Resources Canada earthquake seismologist John Cassidy confirms the

WATCH: Landslide at Joffre peak , no injuries or fatalities reported. Pictures and video from the scene show a massive , grey trail of rock debris coming from the collapsed northeast face of the peak and extending glacier-like Looking back at the Toronto van attack: How 7 minutes changed the city.

2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Two significant landslides sent rocks and debris tumbling down Joffre Peak this week, leaving a stark slash on the mountain visible from Highway 99 northeast of Pemberton, B.C.

The area located about 180 kilometres northeast of Vancouver is popular among backcountry skiers, mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

No one was injured in the slides, something Brent Ward, co-director for the Centre for Natural Hazards Research at Simon Fraser University, chalks up to luck more than anything else.

"These large landslides can be catastrophic," he said.

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Joffre Peak landslide videos and latest news articles; GlobalNews.ca your source for the latest news on Joffre Peak landslide . Pictures show a massive , grey trail of rock debris coming from the collapsed northeast face of the peak and extending far into the valley below.

"If this had happened later in the summer, when there's a whole bunch of people on the trails, we would've had fatalities."

Warmer weather causing slides

The first slide occurred Monday morning around 7:40 a.m, according to B.C. Parks. The debris spanned up to 850 metres in width and travelled about 5.2 kilometres.

The second slide, on Thursday morning, scarred the same side of the mountain.

Ward said weather patterns are among the causes.

2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Alpine permafrost helps to hold rocks in place, he said, and as it melts, the rocks become more susceptible to landslides.

"Remember the hot weather we had last week?" Ward said.

"That hot weather melts snow that's on the mountain which then accumulates in fractures of the rock. That's actually what triggered the landslide."

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2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Aftermath of the slides

Photos of the aftermath of the slides circulated on social media, with many in the outdoor community expressing surprise and concern at the scale of the slide.

"The community just really cares about this area — it's a huge, impressive geological event in an area where there are a bunch of mountain enthusiasts," said Nicholas Zichy, who knows the area well and captured some of the photos of slides.

2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Several backcountry ski routes, like the Twisting Couloir and Central Couloir, were washed away in the slide.

"There's a lot of sadness in the community with many [ski] lines shutting down,"  said Zichy.

The Cerise Creek trail to Keith's Hut is closed because of damage from the slide and B.C. Parks has also closed the Nlháxten/Cerise Creek Conservancy because of safety concerns.

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About 1 to 1.5 km of the Keith's Hut trail is overrun by the slide deposit. Several smaller rock- and ice-falls have occurred from the slide scar since the landslide occurred and so the area is best avoided for the present.

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, a popular hiking and walk-in camping spot, wasn't impacted.

2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

"There's an ongoing assessment," said Sarah Morgan, emergency program manager with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

"For the backcountry and ski touring community, they are obviously very interested in how this will change the recreational opportunities."

B.C. Park staff are still evaluating the scope of the damage.

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