Technical information, news, research, and opinion on avalanches, snow safety, and winter backcountry travel.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Does Size Matter?

I feel like a broken record.
I feel like a broken record.
I feel like a broken record.

Does size matter?

Here's an excellent video of a small avalanche.

Watch the video and draw your own conclusions about the relative safety of a small slope.

The slope in the video provides a perfect example of the concept of consequences. For any slope that contains enough snow for a complete burial, consequences are already at maximum regardless of the size of the slope.

Thanks to whoever posted this video. I assume that your friend is unhurt, and if so, it's great that you were paying attention because it doesn't take very much for situation like this to have an entirely different ending.

So, with that in mind, does size matter?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Does Size Matter?

Hello from bed.

Two weeks of cold, sinus infection, and ear infection have kept me busy. It's even better when your family catches the same cold, and everyone gets sick ( and cranky ).

In light of the recent snow, and in light of some recent close calls, I'm going to post a link to a post I wrote in March of 2010. This post discusses the relationship between terrain size and our perception of hazard.

This is an important topic because, at one time or another, we've all traded horses and chosen smaller slopes that we thought were safer. But as the USFS pamphlet on avalanches clearly states, about half of all avalanche victims are killed by slides running less than 300 feet ( 90 metres ) slope distance.

Does Size Matter?

And while we're at it...

Let's have a quick refresher on uncertainty.