Gateway Gazette

Avalanche Bulletin: Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks

Special Public Avalanche Warning for Backcountry Recreationists in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks

Recreational users urged to exercise caution and restraint.

December 26, 2014, Revelstoke, BC: Parks Canada is issuing a special public avalanche warning for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks. This warning applies to recreational backcountry users and is in effect from December 26 to December 30.

Recent snowfalls coupled with winds and warm temperatures have placed a heavy load on a fragile snowpack. The wild swings in weather this season have left a mix of smooth crusts and persistent weak layers in the snowpack. This complex snowpack has the potential to surprise backcountry users with large avalanches even though riding conditions will be good.

The stormy days leading up to Christmas have produced a touchy snowpack that is providing lots of feedback to users—many natural slides and numerous small avalanches easily triggered by human activity. People are triggering slides even as they approach slopes. This makes the dangerous conditions obvious. But this sort of feedback is going to change in the coming days, even though the weak layers are still there buried under 60 – 100cm of good powder snow.

Parks Canada recommends backcountry users stay on simple, low-angle terrain; avoid large, steep slopes; minimize exposure to overhead hazard; avoid travelling where other users are on slopes above; and re-group in safe zones away from avalanche run-outs until conditions improve. If you do not have the training or experience to assess avalanche terrain and local conditions, it’s a good idea to recreate in areas where the avalanche risk is professionally managed.

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