|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – April 1995
Watching snow fall is a backcountry joy--unless it's barreling 80 mph down a mountain and you're in its path.
If you wander onto an unstable slope and hear a heart-stopping "whump" on a nearby slope that's steeper than 25 to 30 degrees, or see cracks in the snow, get to safe terrain immediately. Either backtrack or follow the least-angled terrain available. If this unsettling noise occurs while you're hiking a trail that's not on a slope, take it as a warning to stay off tilted terrain. Recognize and understand the snow-covered terrain and you can avoid a slipup in avalanche-prone areas.
Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard, by Jill A. Fredston and Douglas S. Fesler (Alaska Mountain Safety Center, 907-345-3566; $8.95).
The ABC of Avalanche Safety, by E. R. LaChapelle (The Mountaineers, 800-553-4453; $6.95).
Winning the Avalanche Game (videotape, Utah Avalanche Center, 801-524-5304; www.avalanche.org~uac; $29.95).
Westwide Avalanche Network, www.avalanche.org. Information about avalanches and safety courses, and links to regional forecasting centers across the country are available here.
Cyberspace Snow and Avalanche Center, www.csac.org. This site provides avalanche conditions for 12 countries, plus photos, firsthand accounts, a Rutschblock Test reference card, lists of classes, and more.
In the Rocky Mountains, try the American Avalanche Institute, (307) 733-3315; www.avalanchecourse.com.
In the Northeast, check out Chauvin Guides International, (603) 356-8919; www.chauvinguides.com.
Mountain Savvy offers numerous courses on Mt. Hood and other peaks, (503) 780-9300; www.mountainsavvy.com.