Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cochrane Ice Jam

The Cochrane Ice Jam sounds like some cool winter music festival. Alas, not a leather-clad lead guitarist in sight.

The Bow River runs through Cochrane in Alberta and is a fast-flowing waterway which carves it's way through the heart of our town and then snakes eastwards through Calgary city centre before continuing further east, eventually becoming the South Saskatchewan River.

I have featured the river many times in previous posts and photos (some of which I shamelessly reproduce here for your viewing pleasure) - it is a wide and sparkling blue ribbon, and in the summer there are easy pathways and lush, grassy borders scattered with wild flowers, butterflies and little yellow birds that never sit still long enough for me to look them up in a book.

And in the autumn, the oranges and golds make it a colourful place to hang out.  The water is too cold and fast for swimming, unless you are a bouncy and senseless canine with no temperature gauge - but it's a good place for the humans to paddle near the edges.

Come wintertime, the water usually looks like one of those iced slushy drinks, and the edges become blurred with frozen shelves of ice.

But this year it all looks a little different.  And it is causing some concern.  I have only been here for four winters, but I have not seen anything like this.

Due to the continuing chilly weather (not sure if I happened to mention that before?!), it has all become a tad frozen. Great chunks of iced water have solidified, over-lapping each other like angry tectonic plates in a frozen wonderland - and the accumulated mini ice-bergs have recently raised the surface height of the river. 

The "river" is now level with footpaths, some of which have been closed off.

It does look quite impressive, if a little worrying for those who live nearby.

And if the levels rise much further, the pipelines along that bridge will have to be shut off.  

We could be heading for an "iceberg dead ahead" Titanic-stylee disaster!


  1. Whoooo! I'd better find out what the South Saskatchewan is doing around here ice-wise. Haven't seen or heard of anything like this, though. Looks pretty but ever so dangerous in your last photo.
    -- K

  2. Crikey! I hope it melts before they have to call in Iceberg Queen, Celine Dion!

    'The Cochrane Ice Jam' does indeed sound waaaay cooler though!

  3. Oh dear - looks cool, but the ice jam and resulting flooding isn't so cool.

  4. This is incredible to see a frozen river mid flow transformed into curly snow under the bridge. You are living in the land of extremes. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and sometimes dangerous winter wonderland.

  5. Such a beautiful river. I have never seen it in the winter though. Amazing!

  6. Gorgeous captures -- I love seeing the different seasons -- I do believe I prefer the wonderful, warm summery ones, but that's because I'm tired of winter! Wonderful post whatever! Thanks for sharing, enjoy the rest of your week!


  7. Oh my! Mother nature does not seem to be treating you kindly. I hope she will reconsider and allow it to melt without flooding.

  8. Awesome, but dangerous! I saw something like this on a smaller river in Maine years ago. Late winter rain flooded the river, floating large (over one foot thick) chunks of ice upon the riverbanks and parking lots near the river.

  9. Wow! We really are having extreme weather in all of Canada. But that ice looks and sounds very dangerous and is so high. I hope it doesn't pose any major disasters ahead. xx


Sorry humans, but I have had to reintroduce the word verificatin thing again due to an inordinate amount of crappy spam. As usual though, I love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment. You don't need to have a Google account - you can leave a message with your name or anonymously if you wish!