Avalanche Forecasting

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Avalanche Forecasting

Postby JBella » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:09 pm

With or without an organized avalanche center providing information it's important for anyone who ventures into the wilderness, for whatever reason and with whatever gear they use to evaluate their own level of skill, understand how to assess terrain, know how to weigh risks with benefits and make decisions. Avalanche centers are meant to be another tool to use just like a shovel, and should not be considered a defining source to say something is safe or isn't. Most employees and volunteers with avalanche centers I obtain information from seem to understand these concepts and often convey that a low avalanche rating does not mean any particular zone or slope is safe and a high rating doesn't necessarily mean it isn't.
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Re: Avalanche Forecasting

Postby sody » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:20 pm

Thank you for reiterating that.

I have a real life example from this weekend. Toured at Wolf Creek Pass in an area below treeline, avalanche rating was moderate and in general considered not too dangerous in treed areas. Nevertheless we still set off 2 small slides and 1 bigger one. All of them were triggered from above or adjacent to the slide path (we determined it was unsafe to ski that path in the first place). Very nice experience to see and observe how far the big slide actually went in a treed area.

Constant evaluation of terrain and snow is required in order to be safe in the backcountry no matter what the forecast/avalanche center says.
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