Reading Terrain I

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Reading Avalanche Terrain

This is an excellent photograph from the Canadian guide Frank Baumann that illustrates some of the hazards you will have to watch out for on the day. Remember that even if your route is not crossing steep terrain it may be threatened from the slopes above. The above photograph is taken around midday, the slopes opposite are north facing. You might expect avalanche activity on similar slopes.

If you are in a tree lined valley you may notice a 'reverse tree-line' where avalanches have travelled down one slope and up the opposite side stopping any tree growth. Wide cuts through forests may be caused by avalanches and should be crossed with the usual caution: check transceivers, speed and spacing.

Give any avalanche slope a wide spacing, either above or below. You don't need to be on the slope to trigger an avalanche.

avalanche terrain trap

Terrain traps can have serious consequences

Categories: Snow Safety