When BC’s Coast Range looks like the southern desert

Robin Rowland 


Since I moved back to Kitimat, I’ve flown from Northwest Regional Terrace-Kitimat airport to Vancouver several times, spring, summer and winter,. There’s always been snow on the mountains.  This year I went down on September 7 and flew back on September 11.

On the flight down I looked out and saw the Coast Range mountains. All but the highest peaks with no snow, the rest of the high mountain tops, normally bluish and white from fresh snow. Now both on the flight down and the flight back, those mountain tops were a dull brown. So was 2014 just a dry year, with no fresh snow or is this another indication of climate change?

The images were taken from a Westjet Bombardier flying at 25,000 feet.  Digital photographs have been slightly colour corrected to eliminate bluish tint from the atmosphere, but all reflect what I saw.  As in the  image at the top, you see the deep green of the forest on the lower slopes, the dull brown and grey of the rocks of the peaks and the snow,  snow only seen in the areas where the sun seldom reaches and that snow itself dull, old, covered in dust.


Dirt covered glaciers sneak in the valleys they’ve carved while higher up the mountains are bare, brown, sepia, black and grey, just like the deserts I saw when flying over Nevada a few years ago,



A closer view of the glacier and the peaks. There has been no fresh snow for weeks.



A river snakes through a valley, where the rain forest only reaches  only about a third way up the slopes.   The rest is bare.


The only snow visible is on a stump like mountain top overlooking a green valley.


Dirty snow on the peaks overlooking lush river valleys.



Another glacier in valley  empties into a lake with bare mountains above.




While one mountain still has snow at the top….


On another there are some bare traces of snow and an alpine lake.


More ice and snow on a peak, a glacier and dirty desert like slopes.

On the way back



Leaving Vancouver, heading north and looking east.


More mountains with just a trace of snow.



A gorgeous green glacier fed alpine lake.


Glaciers come down from the peaks, and join together  surrounded by bare rocky peaks.

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