Avalanche risk table

Published: 15th July 2010
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The avalanche is a fast flow of snow on a slope, triggered natural or by human factors.

About safety - avalanche terrain:

- Terrain management: must avoid to travel if an individual it's risking to be expose to an avalanche terrain. Advice: stay away from exposed rock, do not travel under cutting slopes, stay away from terrain traps (gulleys that can be filled in) and do not travel over convex rolls.
- Group management: involve the management of the group to not involve them into an avalanche (entire group or just a single member). Advice: do not travel alone, must have an escape route, wear warm gear, camp only in safe zones, better route (slope) selection and only one person must pass over a slope (maintain separation).
- Risk Factor Awareness: gather as much data as you can, such as: meteorological history of the area, current snow condition, weather forecast and physical condition of the group.
- Leadership: to take a good decision, you must know to read and interpret the risk factors of an avalanche.

Search and rescue equipment: Shovels (essential for digging), Beacons (avalanche transceivers), Avalung (new device which include: an exhaust pipe, a flap valve, an exhaust pipe and a mouth piece), Probes (collapsible, portable), Avalanche cords (~10 meter long red cord) and Other devices (Personal Locating Beacons (PLBs) or Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)).

Avalanche size table in Europe / United States:

1 - Low / Green: Human triggered (avalanches) - unlikely, Travel - generally safe, Natural triggered (avalanches) - unlikely, Snow - very stable
2 - Limited / Yellow (Moderate): Human triggered (avalanches) - possible, Travel - caution in steeper terrain, Natural triggered (avalanches) - unlikely, Snow - moderately stable
3 - Medium / Orange (Considerable): Human triggered (avalanches) - probable, Travel - increasingly cautious in steeper terrain, Natural triggered (avalanches) - possible, Snow - moderately or weakly stable
4 - High / Red: Human triggered (avalanches) - likely, Travel - not recommended, Natural triggered (avalanches) - likely, Snow - not very stable
5 - Very High / Red/Black border (Extreme): Travel - should be avoided, Snow - generally unstable, Human triggered (avalanches) - certain, Natural triggered (avalanches) - certain

Mountain Route Resources:

All about Avalanche
Avalanche classification and risk table


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