Canada2 massive landslides on Joffre Peak change the face of backcountry destination
2nd flood peak expected this weekend
Just when it seemed flood-weary residents of the Ottawa-Gatineau area might catch a break, the Ottawa River is rising again and isn't expected to peak until Sunday or Monday. After reaching their initial peak more than a week ago, water levels began dropping, then rising again as rain drenched the region and reservoirs filled to the brim. Another 10 millimetres of rain is expected across the region Friday, and parts of the Outaouais could see even more: a rainfall warning is currently in effect in Maniwaki, Que. The Ottawa River is currently 1.5 to 2.5 metres above average May levels between Pembroke, Ont.
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.
Forgetting a child in a hot car can happen to anyone, experts say
Leaving a child in a hot car is an inconceivable thought, but it's a potentially tragic mistake one expert says could happen to anyone. On Thursday, a 16-month-old boy died after being left for hours in a car in Burnaby during an unseasonably warm day. The boy's father was found at the scene, and no charges have been laid. Instances like these are often a tragic case of forgetfulness and highlight the faults of the human brain, said David Diamond, a professor at the University of South Florida who has spent 15 years studying how a parent could forget their child in a hot car.
"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.
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."
Ottawa River levels starting to fall again
The Ottawa River’s second round with flood-weary residents appears to be coming to an end as floodwaters again began to recede. The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board released new numbers Monday showing the river is starting to head down in some places and stabilize in others. Over the past weekend, the river peaked for a second time as heavy rains from last week flowed into a river already at record highs. At Pembroke, Ont., which saw record-high levels on the weekend, the water began to recede on Monday, falling seven centimetres. It also fell just down river in Lac Coulonge.
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.
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.
Nepal climber scales Mount Everest for record 23rd time
Native Sherpa mountaineering guide breaks his own record of most successful ascents of the world's highest peak. Rita, a native of Thame village located in the shadow of Mount Everest, reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-feet) summit with other climbers via the Southeast Ridge route on Wednesday morning, tourism department official Mira Acharya said from the base camp. His latest ascent took him two summits clear of two fellow Sherpas, who have successfully climbed the peak 21 times, hiking officials said. Acharya said Rita, who goes by his first name Kami, reached the top at 7.
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, a popular hiking and walk-in camping spot, wasn't impacted.
"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.
Toronto under shoreline hazard warning as lake water levels edge closer to 2017 levels.
Toronto remains under a shoreline hazard warning as water levels in Lake Ontario edge closer to a historic high reached two years ago. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority says Lake Ontario's current average water level is 75.86 metres above sea level, about 7 centimetres below the maximum level reached in 2017, when water levels were record high. Rehana Rajabali, senior manager of flood risk management for the conservation authority, reminded residents that the shoreline continues to pose a risk, especially when winds and waves are strong. The warning is still in effect, she added.