The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued a warning to Adirondack back country visitors to be aware of the danger of avalanches and take necessary precautions. Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches. While the majority of avalanches in the United States occur in the west, avalanches do occur in New York and can have dire consequences.
On February 27th of last year two backcountry skiers were caught in an avalanche on Angel Slide, Wright Peak. The potentially deadly avalanche occurred just a month after Phil Brown wrote A Short History of Adirondack Avalanches. Ian Measeck of Glens Falls told his story to Adirondack Almanack readers here.
While avalanche danger increases during and immediately after major snowfalls, as well as during thaws, avalanches can occur in any situation where snow, slope and weather conditions combine to create the proper conditions.
DEC reminds back country winter recreationists to take the following precautions when traveling in avalanche prone terrain:
· know avalanche rescue techniques;
· practice safe route finding;
· carry safety equipment (transceiver, probe, shovel);
· never travel alone;
· know the terrain, weather and snow conditions; and
· inform someone where you plan to go and when you expect to return.
Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter. Snowshoes or skis are now required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and are recommended for travel throughout the park.
The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation conditions around the region on Thursday afternoons. Readers can also hear the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.
The Adirondack Almanack also publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.
Photo: Angel Slides on Wright Peak from Wikipedia.