Avalanche Aware: Safe Travel in Avalanche Country by John Moynier

By John Moynier

If you happen to shuttle, ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, or mountaineer in a space the place there's lots of slope and lots of snow, then you definitely are uncovered to avalanche probability. In Avalanche conscious, veteran backcountry ski advisor and avalanche forecaster John Moynier deftly publications you thru the fundamentals of ways avalanches paintings, spotting avalanche terrain, and trying out the snow pack-before you enterprise onto volatile flooring. invaluable black-and-white illustrations of right equipment, slope perspective, snow pit exams, and the consequences of wind and climate accompany his witty, informative factors of the way to prevent avalanche threat. No e-book on avalanche security will be whole with no description of seek equipment within the occasion of an unforeseen slide, and Moynier's useful factors of ways to head approximately discovering a misplaced pal provide you with additional self belief should you take on the slopes. For actually stress-free and winning wintry weather expeditions, examine Avalanche conscious sooner than you head out and make it a part of the protection apparatus you hold within the box.

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Additional info for Avalanche Aware: Safe Travel in Avalanche Country

Sample text

Avalanche Terrain 39 4. Weather Considerations 48 5. Getting to Know the Snowpack 55 6. Testing the Snow 70 7. The Human Factor 88 8. Avalanche Rescue Techniques 98 9. Points to Ponder 113 Appendix: Sources of Information 116 About the Author 118 Page 6 Preface The dangerous lack of avalanche awareness by those who travel the mountains in winter often surprises me. Every year an average of about 30 people lose their lives in avalanche-related accidents that could have been easily avoided. Novices and an amazingly high percentage of expert skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers, and snowmobilers give little or no thought to the stability of the snow-pack before committing to a slope, even though their lives depend on it.

Slab Avalanches Slabs form when a dense layer of snow is deposited on top of a weaker layer. If the weaker layer below collapses, the more cohesive layer (the slab) above will likely fail and begin moving as a unit. Slab avalanches can be very dense and hard, or very Page 19 soft, like new powder snow, depending on the cohesiveness of snow crystals within that layer. A small area of snow may start moving or a whole hillside, depending on the size of the collapse, the steepness of the slope, or the slope configuration.

Warning! Sometimes a hard slab will be so strong that it can support itself even when part of the underlying weak layer collapses. When this happens, the slab will feel hollow underneath your feet or skis. This is a very dangerous condition! If the underlying layer collapses there may be an audible "whoomph" as the air is pressed out. Due to the release of elastic tension in the layer, cracks may shoot out across the slope as the slab fails. Page 25 Wet and Dry Avalanches Avalanches can also be characterized as being either "wet" or "dry" based on the amount of free water in the snow.

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