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Avalanche

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									Avalanche Safety

      jae H. Roh
 jhroh@alum.mit.edu
 Winter School 2002
              staying alive:
• avoid getting caught in an avalanche
  (recognize and avoid avalanche zones)
• if you get caught make it easy for others to
  find you (use a beacon)
• once you're found, get dug out (carry a
  shovel)
              How to die
• Physical trauma
• Suffocation by ice mask
          avalanche dynamics:
•   terrain
•   Snowpack evolution
•   precipitation/weather
•   trigger - i.e. you!
                  equipment
•   inclinometer
•   Beacons – practice using it!
•   shovels
•   probes - (body recovery)
•   (avalung)
    Recognizing Avalanche terrain
•   30-45 degrees
•   open slopes
•   gullies
•   open stands of trees
   White Mountains avalanche
           territory
• Mt. Washington Ravines, Huntington's,
  Tuckermans
• Gulf of Slides
• Other areas
   Getting Avalanche Forecasts
• USFS Avalanche reports
  – http://www.mountwashington.org/avalanche/
  – also posted at Pinkham Notch
• USFS Snow Ranger
  – (603) 466-2713
• Today on Mount Washington
  – Tuckermans: Considerable
  – Huntingtons: Moderate
     Avalanche Hazard Ratings
•   LOW
•   MODERATE
•   CONSIDERABLE
•   HIGH
•   EXTREME
    Obvious signs of avalanche
           danger are:
• Cornices
• Fracture lines
• Audible "whump" or other settling sounds
  sound
• Feeling a settling or shifting of the slope
• Fresh avalanche activity
• Unstable layers in snowpack
  – Dig snow pits, shovel test, ski test
  If you must cross an avalanche
              slope:
• Cross one at a time and watch each other
  carefully
• Ski from one island of safety to the next
• Close up clothing and undo pack straps
• Remove pole wrist loops, safety straps, and
  loosen bindings
If you get caught in an avalanche
• You must rescue yourselves!
   – DO NOT just go for help – it won’t come in time.
   – Buried victims have 20 minutes tops
• If your buddy is caught
   – mark where you last saw them
   – do quick visual search. anything poking out of the
     snow?
   – Begin search down hill
            Learning More
• Books
  – Snow Sense
  – ABCs of Avalanche Safety
• Videos
• Courses
  – Offered by SOLO, others

								
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