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Travellers stranded in Jasper after rock slide and avalanche

People trying to travel east or south from Jasper are stuck between a rock slide and an avalanche.

'If you're not going to stay in Jasper, if you have to leave south or west, you really are wasting your time'

Crews remain at the scene of the "controlled" avalanche on the Icefields Parkway. (Banff National Park)

Editor's note: Some highways through this area have reopened. Click here for the latest information. 

People trying to travel west or south from Jasper are stuck between a rock slide and an avalanche.

A "controlled" avalanche swallowed a section of the Icefields Parkway on Thursday, shutting down Highway 93 North between the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11. 

Parks Canada triggered the snowfall to reduce avalanche risks near Lake Louise but brought down more snow than they had intended.

On Friday morning, a rock slide also cut off Highway 16 west of Jasper. 

Crews were working to re-open both roads Friday night and updates are expected Saturday.

Darryl Ropcean was on his way to Valemount Friday when the rock slide blocked his way.

He described the scene in Jasper as chaotic, with a line of parked trucks and recreational vehicles snaking down Highway 16 near the town.

"Every hour that goes by, it gets busier and busier," he said.

"Anybody thinking of coming here — if you're not going to stay in Jasper, if you have to leave south or west, you really are wasting your time."

A line of parked vehicles snakes down the shoulder of Highway 16 near Jasper. (Supplied/Darryl Ropcean)

Ropcean may have to spend the weekend in Jasper, he said.

The risk of further rock slides makes Highway 16 too dangerous for traffic, said Parks Canada spokesperson Joseph Zebrowski. He could not give an estimated re-opening time as of late Friday night.

"Our biggest concern is what's still up on the rock face," Zebrowski said.

"We really can't say what the risk might be but we are concerned enough of the risk of further slides that we want an expert to come in and do an assessment before we re-open the highway."

A geotechnician from Edmonton will inspect the rock face on Saturday to determine how it can be secured.

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