6 Apr 2012

New snow, solar aspects, strong sun = Avalanches

At 2280 meters the temperature was - 11 as of 06:00. The winds were 0-5 KPH from the SSW. At 1550 meters the temperature was -8, 92 % relative humidity and the the barometer is rising. In the valley it was
 - 5. No new snow over night.

Good settlement and tightening in the snow, but the cornices are still large, crust on all solar aspects, and surface hoar is developing on sheltered north facing slopes.

For the updated Avalanche Advisory click here: Avalanche Advisory

What it would be like getting caught in a wet slide: Sierra Spring POW

Interesting study out of Switzerland on burial statistics: Time is a factor

Ski Touring in Alaska, big country, big rides: Talkeetnas

If you go out on the Spearhead be diligent and fill in this survey: Hut Survey

Some more information on tree wells:

Treewell Safety
NARSID stands for Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death. NARSID incidents occur with deep snow or tree well immersions, in which a rider or skier falls into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles, the more entrapped in the snow they become, and risk suffocation.
     • Each skier or snowboarder controls his or her own level of risk and are the only ones that can prevent this type of accident from happening. Always ski and ride with a partner. To minimize your risk, you must know how to travel safely with your partners in these un-groomed deep snow areas
     • Always stay in visual contact so that your partner(s) can see you if you fall. Visual contact means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. It does no good if your partner is already waiting for you in lift line while you are still descending the slope;
    • Stay close enough to either pull or dig out. If you have any question about what "close enough" to assist someone in a tree well is, hold your breath while you are reading this. The amount of time before you need air may be how much time your partner has to pull or dig you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the position you fall in, may affect this critical timeframe.
    • Remember, if you lose visual contact with your partner you could lose your friend. It is important to know that most people who have died in deep snow or tree well accidents had been skiing or riding with "partners" at the time of their accident. Unfortunately, none of these partners were in visual contact so they were not able to be of help in a timely manner.

A dedicated site to tree well & deep snow issues: Tree Well & Deep Snow Safety

Posted this video already this year, but here it is again: Tree Well Rescue

Fresh off the Press

Grizzly lake today! Sledder got stuck on hill, buddy drives over top of him and cuts the slide. Stuck guy was taken about 60m Thanks to Peter Norie for the information. April 5, 2012

Same location as fatality last month.

I watched it happen from the other side of the valley. Victim drives right up the slope and gets stuck. You can see his track on the left into the slide area. His riding partner goes up the back side and descends down the hill towards him. The slide let go before the upper sledder reached the future fracture line. We watched it all go down in complete amazement that more people don't die in the backcountry doing what these two did!