Thursday, February 6, 2014

Signs of an Unstable Snowpack in the Backcountry

Adirondack AvalanchesWhile out skiing yesterday afternoon I saw several signs that the snowpack is unstable and extreme caution should be used if you are tempted to head towards the slides after this recent snowfall.

I came across numerous small slides, such as the one in this photograph, on N and NW aspects at slopes as low as 25 degrees.

Whooping and shooting cracks were prevalent. I was skiing the trees but any turns made near a convex roll produced a small slide.  If you venture into avalanche terrain make sure you have the knowledge to assess the risk, know proper travel techniques, and are carrying a beacon, probe, shovel, and the knowledge to use them.

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Brendan Wiltse is the Science & Stewardship Director for the Ausable River Association and a professional conservation photographer. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Queen's University in Canada. While not out on the water studying Adirondack lakes and streams, he is often roaming the Wilderness with his camera and dog. You can view is photography at www.brendanwiltse.com




2 Responses

  1. Shad says:

    Great observations. Thanks for spreading the word

  2. MudRat says:

    Thanks for posting Brendan. I was contemplating this Wednesday while watching the snow totals. A friend reaffirmed my concerns Thursday and I called off a slide climb because of the risk.