Learn the foundational knowledge of avalanche terrain and risks to become a more-informed winter hiker in the backcountry.
Backpackers, hikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers can face avalanche hazards both above and below the treeline. In this Member Q&A, we’ll provide the foundations for recognizing those hazards and a framework for assessing risks.
- hazard assessment vs. risk management
- hazard assessment: terrain, weather, and snowpack
- risk management: route finding, human factors
- interpreting avalanche forecasts
Some of the questions addressed in the Keynote and Q&A parts of this event:
- Why have US avalanche fatalities increased in the past 70 years?
- How does the risk of and type of death change following burial in an avalanche?
- How are hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and risk related?
- How much control do you have over your exposure to avalanche risk?
- How is avalanche risk related to aspect, elevation, and slope angle?
- How can we relate what we see in the field to our topo maps/mapping app to evaluate avalanche risk?
- What unique considerations do snowshoe hikers have to consider?
- What habits can I implement to minimize my risk if I don’t have avalanche skills or gear?
- How do I interpret an avalanche forecast?
- What are the differences between persistent slabs, wind slabs, and storm slabs?
- How can I use and interpret snowpit analysis graphs?
- What human factors do I need to be aware of, individually and as a group?
- Recommended books and resources?
- Where to learn avalanche safety if use snowshoes, which aren’t allowed on some courses?
- How do you know where to camp to avoid an avalanche plowing through your tent? (i.e., runout zones and runout angles)
- Can I still use a 20-year-old avalanche beacon?
About the Event & Access Info
- Event Description: Avalanche Awareness & Safety (Member Q&A)
- Livestream Date and Time: Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 7 PM US Mountain Time
Backpacking Light Member Q&A Sessions are Hour-Long Members-Only Live Events – they are recorded and the recorded session will be made available to all members for a limited time after the live event has ended (and for Unlimited Members forever).
To access the live or recorded (video) version of this event, a printable slide deck for note-taking, and the related resources/downloads, you must be logged in with an active Basic, Premium, or Unlimited Membership.