Thursday, November 5, 2009

Avalanche Dangers

As the snow begins to fly the dangers in the back country increase. Whether you snowshoe, ski, or snowboard the possibility of an avalanche while enjoying the back country is a serious risk. Do not take the warning lightly as people do get buried and die in Colorado Avalanches every year.

Most avalanche accidents are caused by slab avalanches which are triggered by the victim or a member of the victim's party. However, any avalanche may cause serious injury or death. Even small slides may be very dangerous. It is important to always practice safe route finding skills, be aware of current and changing conditions, and carry avalanche rescue gear. Educate yourself on avalanche terrain analysis and snow stability. Learn the evaluation techniques to help minimize your risk.

The avalanche danger ratings are general to a large area and what you encounter may be more dangerous than the ratings portray. It is still important to understand the standard Avalanche Danger Ratings.

United States Avalanche Danger
Low (Green) Natural avalanches very unlikely. Human triggered avalanches unlikely.
Moderate (Yellow) Natural avalanches unlikely. Human triggered avalanches possible.
Considerable (Orange) Natural avalanches possible. Human triggered avalanches probable.
High (Red) Natural and human triggered avalanches likely.
Extreme (Red with Border) Widespread natural or human triggered avalanches certain.

Colorado Mountain Club

The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) is a great organization the focuses on spreading information about the Colorado Rockies. It is more than just a hiking club. It is a way to connect those who recreate in Colorado whether they live here or not.

The mission of the CMC is to organize, stimulate, and spread information to those interested in the Colorado mountains. The club was established in 1912 and has been involved in promoting conservation through environmental education, trail building, and public lands decisions. They sponsor trips and classes as well as spread information through a magazine and books from the CMC Press.

This is an outstanding group to be involved with. Check them out and consider becoming a member.