Archive for March 2012

Special Public Avanlanche Warning!

Special Public Avalanche Warning for BC’s Interior Mountains

Fourth warning in five weeks for recreational backcountry users

March 23, 2012, Revelstoke, BC:

For the first weekend of spring, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is issuing its fourth Special Public Avalanche Warning in five weeks. The warning area includes the South Coast Inland, the North and South Columbias, the Cariboos, the Purcells, the South Rockies, the Lizard Range and the Kootenay Boundary region. This warning is in effect from Saturday March 24 through to Monday, March 26.
“Our main concern is the same weak layer we have been tracking for the past month,” says Ilya Storm, Forecast Coordinator for the CAC’s Public Avalanche Warning Service. “Over the past few days, we have received numerous reports of very large avalanches and near-misses throughout the areas affected by the warning. We’re hearing about people with lots of experience who were surprised by avalanches, sometimes triggered from a significant distance,” explains Storm. “What’s significant is that in many of these cases, the terrain was relatively simple. That tells us this weak layer is primed for triggering.”
Adding to the situation, the weekend forecast is for clear skies and sunshine in the regions covered by the warning. “The sun is going to entice backcountry users in the alpine, but at the same time it will have a destabilizing effect on the snowpack,” explains Storm. “With the current volatility of that layer, this is a potentially deadly combination.”
The CAC has posted a “conditions alert” on their YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/CanadianAvalancheCtr
The CAC advises all recreational backcountry users to make consistently cautious decisions and to avoid avalanche terrain in the areas targeted by the special warning. All members of a backcountry party must be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver. The CAC strongly recommends all backcountry users take an Avalanche Skills Training course. Snowpack stability changes constantly through the winter and spring. Backcountry users need to check the avalanche forecasts regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area. More detailed information is also available on the CAC Forecaster’s Blog. For the forecasts, blog and information on training check www.avalanche.ca/cac.

For more information
Mary Clayton, CAC Communications Director
Office: 250.837-2141 (228)
Mobile: 250-837-1492

More Avalanche Warnings

Special Public Avalanche Warning for Columbia Mountains, South Rockies and South Coast Inland Range

March 9, 2012, Revelstoke, BC: The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users. The warning includes the mountains of the South Coast Inland, the Columbia Mountains from near Prince George in the north to the US border in the south, and BC’s South Rockies. The warning is in effect this weekend, Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11, 2012.

“We have a variety of issues within the snowpack right now that cause us two main concerns,” explains Ilya Storm, the CAC’s Public Avalanche Warning Services Coordinator. “The first is that the size of avalanches is likely to be much bigger than might be expected, and could be triggered remotely, which means triggered at a distance or from the bottom of the slope. Our other main concern is that slopes generally considered safer—lower angle, below treeline—are primed for human triggering.”
Local knowledge and a high degree of training and experience are required to travel safely in avalanche terrain this weekend, adds Storm. “Knowing the slope history is key to good decisions right now. And make sure you park in safe spots—well to the side of any avalanche path or far away from the runout zone. Given the size of recent avalanches, the bottom of runout zones this weekend might be father than you think.”

The CAC is advising all recreational backcountry users to carefully monitor avalanche bulletins. Everyone in a backcountry party needs to be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver and the CAC strongly recommends all backcountry users take an avalanche awareness course. Snowpack stability changes constantly throughout the winter. Backcountry users need to check the avalanche bulletin regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area. More detailed information is also available on the CAC forecaster’s blog.

For the bulletins, blog and information on training, check www.avalanche.ca/cac.