Thursday, February 3, 2011

Avalanche Danger in the Adirondacks

Avalanches occur often in the Adirondacks and they can have deadly consequences. Be aware of the danger of avalanches and take necessary precautions when snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches.

In February of 2010  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. One of the skiers, Ian Measeck of Glens Falls, told his story to Adirondack Almanack readers here. A skier died in an avalanche on the same slide in 2000.

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.

Information on avalanche danger and safety precautions is available on the DEC website. A brochure titled “Avalanche Preparedness in the Adirondacks” is also available for download [pdf].

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 the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which are stern reminders 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.


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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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