Backcountry Avalanche Safety

Backcountry Avalanche Safety

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First published in 1983, the fifth edition of this classic avalanche text has been reorganized and re-written to incorporate the most up-to-date information available for winter backcountry enthusiasts.

It is divided into 9 chapters as follows:

Mountain Weather: Describes how changes in weather: sun, wind, snow, rain and temperature, result in changes in the snowpack that lead to avalanche hazard.

Snow: Explains how the physical properties of water—frozen, liquid and vapour—result in the formation of snow in the atmosphere, how they influence snow on the ground, and their effect on critical layers within the snowpack.

Avalanches: Discusses the two types of snow avalanches; loose-snow and slab avalanches: how they form, what triggers them, how big they might be and the slope angles at which they commonly release. Lots of pictures.

Avalanche Terrain: Defines users of avalanche terrain and describes terrain features that are significant for winter backcountry enthusiasts. Enlarges on the effect of slope angle, slope aspect and elevation.

Trip Planning: Enlarges on the Avalnche Danger Scale and interpreting Avalanche Forecasts. Describes the Avaluator™ trip planning tool and offers advice on all aspects of trip planning.

Avalanche Gear: Discusses avalanche-specific gear: beacons, shovels, probes, Avalung, airbags, helmets, snow saw, inclinometer, climbing rope, bivy bags, Cell & Satellite Phones, Messenger Devices and Personal Locator Beacons.

Travel in Avalanche Terrain: This chapter covers the basics of travelling in backcountry avalanche terrain. It is intended for Backcountry Tourers, Snowshoers,and other winter backcountry enthusiasts such as Ice Climbers and Scramblers who traverse through avalanche terrain to get to their climbs and are generally trying to avoid steep slopes. Along with the next two chapters it is the meat of the book.

Riding Steep Slopes: The needs of Skiers and Boarders who deliberately seeks to make turns, preferably in deep powder, on slopes in excess of 30° are addressed. This section provides information and tools beyond those needed for backcountry travel. It does not replace the previous chapter. You still have to travel through avalanche terrain and establish a safe uptrack, before you can enjoy a downhill run.

Companion Rescue: Surviving an avalanche in the backcountry depends upon the actions of the unburied survivors. This chapter defines procedures that will give your buried companion the best chance of survival.

Available from outdoor stores and bookstores.