Saturday, January 17, 2009

Avalanche Danger Extremely High in Western Canada this weekend

While it seems to be cold all over the continent, here in Alberta we're sitting at a balmy 11 C/ 52 F today! (Going up to 13C/55F tomorrow). Even the mountains are enjoying above-freezing temps and I'm sure I'm not the only one planning an outdoor excursion this weekend.

However, while I know we're getting no sympathy from other parts of North America, there are plenty of dangers associated with heading out to our mountain playground in these warm temperatures. Avalanche experts are saying these are the worst avalanche conditions they've seen in 100 years:

From the Calgary Herald:

Klassen, who has 30 years' experience in the backcountry, said he does not recall such a dangerously unpredictable season for avalanche conditions.

The number of major slides released over the past two weeks is "unprecedented," he said Thursday.

Avalanches this season have wiped out trees that are more than a century old. Many slides have run farther and wider than ever witnessed, and some areas have seen more widespread avalanche cycles than ever before.

Full article here: Avalanche Risk Worst in 100 years.

Please be safe this weekend.

*Note: Since this article was written there are now reports of yet another avalanche death in BC. PLEASE be careful if you're heading into the backcountry this weekend.

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