The precipitation gauge transect from Nipika to the continental divide is drawn in red. Each tipping bucket is marked with a yellow pin. Yellow pins outside of the transect denote places where additional weather measurements are currently being obtained, or could be obtained in the future. The Fortress SPADE site is located in the upper right hand corner of this map.
Hadleigh, Cécile, and Selina departed Radium Hot Springs for Nipika Mountain Resort at 1530 UTC for a fantastic mountain journey. Our mission was to deploy a transect of tipping bucket rain gauges from the Nipika site to the continental divide.
Unfortunately, an inspection of the Nipika site at 1030 MDT revealed that the Parsivel disdrometer had a timeout error and, consequently, two days of fine weather Parsivel information was missing from our computer (although the instrument itself was still puttering along nicely). Hadleigh quickly restarted the Parsivel software, and this disdrometer information easily flowed back onto the computer screen, with this display remaining flawless for the rest of the day. The rest of the site was in excellent shape, with all other instruments functioning normally. The only site visitors were probably the usual collection of birds and ground squirrels. After a bit of wire wrestling, we successfully deployed a HOBO tipping bucket rain gauge at this site to serve as a reference for our precipitation gauge transect.
At 1745 UTC Cécile, Hadleigh, and Selina departed for the end of the Cross Resource Road. Although a previous reconnaissance mission had revealed that most of this road was passable, we had no idea where washouts or the snow line would foil our mission. Thankfully, our main impediment was a large cinnamon black bear enjoying tasty morsels on the road. Due to great road conditions, we were able to climb up to 47 kilometres of the Cross RR, to an elevation of 1665 m, almost as close to Fortress as a road could take us. We deployed Odyssey Tipping Bucket 1 at this site, on the edge of the snow line, with ice clad cliffs and soaring peaks looming over over us. Subsequently, Odyssey Tipping Bucket 2 was deployed at 32.5 km on the Cross RR beside a small bridge above a turquoise stream, at the intersection of two huge valleys. Odyssey Tipping Bucket 3 was deployed at 23.25 km on the Cross RR, in a burn overlooking the intersection of two ravines. At this point the other side of valley suddenly flattened to the northwest, near the edge of the Kootenay River valley. A pleasant wind could be felt rushing up the valley towards us.
With the transect fully deployed, we returned to the Nipika site just after 2230 MDT, to check on the Parsivel. With all instruments at the site still functioning beautifully, we returned to Radium Hot Springs, waving to a family of black bears as we drove along the highway.
Successful deployment of the precipitation gauge trajectory would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of both Hadleigh and Cécile. I am very grateful for Hadleigh serving as an accomplished chauffeur and carpenter, and for Cécile lending her skills in photography and inReach communication.
Field Participants: Hadleigh Thompson, Cécile Carton, & Selina Mitchell