Trans-Canada Highway. Road sign reads “Rogers Pass altitude 1,330 m.”

Rogers Pass:

  • Rogers Pass is 4,364 ft (1,330m) above sea level and is the third highest point along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Snow:

  • There are, on average, 140 days of snowfall per year in Glacier National Park.
  • Rogers Pass receives, on average, 10 metres (approximately 32.5 feet) of snowfall at treeline each winter.
  • Recorded snowfall at the Summit of Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park (elevation of 1,315m):
    • Average recorded yearly snowfall from 1965 to 2012 is 927cm;
    • Highest recorded snowfall year was 1966/67 with 1,553cm;
    • 1,142 cm of snow fell in 2011 2012.
  • Recorded snowfall at the Mt Fidelity weather station in Glacier National Park (elevation 1,905m):
    • Average recorded yearly snowfall from 1965 to 2012 is 1,433cm;
    • Highest recorded snowfall year was 1966/67 with 2,151cm;
    • 1,685 cm of snow fell in 2011-2012.

Avalanche snow cloud running down a valley.

Avalanches:

  • Approximately 2000 avalanche activity events along the Trans-Canada corridor are recorded by Parks Canada staff each year.
  • On average, 20 avalanches a year affect the highway with mass and 100 avalanches affect the highway each year with blowing snow and wind. (Parks Canada works to control avalanches before they get big enough to affect the highway.)
  • Avalanches can reach speeds of up to 250 kph.

Photo: Rob Buchanan Howitzer firing.

Avalanche Control:

  • The avalanche control operation requires 12 Parks Canada avalanche forecasters and technicians and visitor safety staff, 2 Parks Canada Law Enforcement Officers, Parks Canada highway staff and two rotations of 17 Canadian Armed Forces military personnel.
  • Operation Palaci (meaning reliability) is the longest running Canadian Forces operation, domestic or expeditionary, in Canadian history.
  • The Operation Palaci mission is the only Canadian Armed Forces Domestic Operation in Canada that provides live fire support, by way of the Royal Canadian Artillery, to alleviate the threat to the strategic corridor resident in the steep slopes and associated snowpack of the Selkirk Mountain Range.
  • Over the past 10 years, the annual average number of avalanche control missions is 20. The highest number was 41 in 2011-12 and the historic low is 12.
  • 105mm C-3 Howitzers are used to trigger avalanches during avalanche control operations.
  • Parks Canada is responsible for managing avalanche hazards through an approximately 40km stretch of the Trans Canada Highway from 17 gun positions that mark 134 different avalanche paths and approximately 270 artillery targets (each path may have multiple targets).
  • Line-of-sight distances between the gun and the targets are up to 5km over a vertical rise of up to 1.8km

Several transport trucks backed up on the highway.

The Trans-Canada Highway:

  • Approximately 3,000 vehicles and 24-32 trains (between 10,000 -15,000 feet long) travel through Rogers Pass each day in the winter. (Note: the annual average daily traffic volume is 4,000 vehicles – there is more traffic in the summer (5,000 vehicles) than in the winter)
  • Highway Closures:
    • On average, there are approximately 100 hours of highway closures per year related to avalanche control work in the Rogers Pass area of Glacier National Park.
    • The majority of closures are less than 2 hours.
    • On average, there is 1 closure lasting longer than 12 hours every 4 years. -The last closure of more than 24 hours was in 2009.
    • Over the 50 years of the avalanche control program there have been 13 closures lasting longer than 24 hours, 75% of which occurred in the 1970’s.
    • Closures and delays are posted at www.drivebc.ca