Entries tagged with “frank slide intrepretive centre”.


If you were awake early yesterday morning and looked outside toward the heavens, you probably saw the lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses are fairly common and there is one visible somewhere in the world, about every 18 months. However, yesterday’s eclipse was special, because it marked the first time in nearly 400 years that a total lunar eclipse has occurred during the winter solstice. The last one took place in the year 1638. Unlike today, there were no cameras around back then to record the event. I suspect there were thousands of photographers and videographers recording this one, not to mention the countless numbers of curious skygazers. I happened to be one of them, camera in hand.

For a while it looked like it was going to be a non-event in Crowsnest Pass, as wave after wave of clouds passed over Turtle Mountain, obscuring the moon from view. I had chosen a location along the edge of the Frank Slide as my vantage point. Even with the cloud cover, it was bright enough to walk in the woods without a flashlight. Then, just before 1:00 am there was a break in the clouds and a magnificent red moon appeared high above Turtle Mountain. It was awesome!

It will be another 391 years, in the year 2401, before another total lunar eclipse will form over this mountain and Crowsnest Pass on the winter solstice. I’m sure it will be as spectacular as yesterday’s. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Southern Alberta is recovering from its first snow storm of the year. In Crowsnest Pass, there’s 18-20 inches of fresh snow covering the valley floor. The sun broke through for a few minutes yesterday morning, as I was taking the photo below. It was the first time in a couple of days where Turtle Mountain and the Frank Slide were visible. It looks like even more snow has fallen at higher elevations. I’m sure this will be good news for the local ski resorts. Not so good if you were hoping to get out fishing on the Crow over the next few days. Temperatures are not expected to climb above -14°C through the weekend. The long range forecast appears brighter, or should I say “warmer,” and it’s suppose to be above freezing by next Friday.

Lots of fresh snow in Crowsnest Pass

 Speaking of Turtle Mountain, the Alberta Geological Survey has been conducting research on this mountain for several years, using hi-tech equipment to monitor its structure and instability. According to their web site, “the first priority of the monitoring system is providing early warning to residents of a possible catastrophic rock avalanche.” That’s comforting to know, particularly if you live in the “splash” zone! 

In addition to some of the monitoring equipment, there are web cams set up on top of the mountain and along the valley floor. If the mountain’s South Peak ever breaks loose, like the experts believe it will at some point in the future, it’s nice to know we’ll be able to watch in real time. If you’re interested in looking at some neat web cam photos, click here. There are also some cool time-lapse movies.