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2020/2021 Avalanche Information

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Weathercam wrote:
@Alastair Pink, there's a bit of fake news in there as the footage of the avalanche is an old video when a chunk of the glacier fell off, plus it occurred at 05:00 Laughing


Good point! Laughing Laughing
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Was it the snow layer on the glacier or also the glacier ice that broke off and slid?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Interesting read regarding the avalanche stats for the USA.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/experts-warn-lurking-danger-several-110024733.html

A weak base layer of snow, combined with an increased interest in backcountry skiing during the COVID-19 pandemic, has likely contributed to one of the deadliest weeks for avalanches in U.S. history, experts said.

From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 14 people died after getting caught in avalanches -- marking it the deadliest week in the U.S. since 1910 for the accidents, according to the National Avalanche Center.

As of Feb. 10, 22 people have died from avalanches this winter, with over half occurring in Utah and Colorado, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. In the deadliest among them, in Utah's Salt Lake Valley on Feb. 6, four people died after triggering an avalanche, while another four managed to escape, authorities said.
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Lots of activity here today, 3 people caught and recovered unhurt just up from Monetier and a massive slide at La Grave, fortunately at 5:15 this morning, all the way down to the river at the bottom of the valley, taking out the bridge on its way:

https://www.ledauphine.com/societe/2021/02/11/hautes-alpes-le-souffle-de-l-avalanche-fait-des-degats-dans-le-village-de-la-grave
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Still on the wow factor here... another amazing photo too.

I don't remember ever seeing an avalanche this big round here. There have been some impressive avalanches in the past on the way up the Col du Lautaret from the Monetier side, several have covered the main road and gone down almost to the river... so that's the opposite side of the valley to the La Grave one shown above... but nothing anywhere near this big.

30 metres deep in places... that's twice the height of my hotel !!! Shocked
Just aswell it happened at 5am... and thank goodness no casualties.

On that note, and not being an avalanche expert, I have a question : 5am is the coldest time of night... why would an avalanche trigger at 3200m at that time ? It wasn't snowing... and the big natural avalanches I've seen have always happened during the day...
And another question for @KenX and @weathercam : have you been over and had a look ?
Was thinking of heading over tomorrow, weather permitting... my kids are in awe and the boys are desperate to see it close up !
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
sucette wrote:

I don't remember ever seeing an avalanche this big round here.


There was a similar one about ten years ago. Though maybe not quite as big. Remember seeing debris down at the bridge in spring. If you look at photos the village only expanded to where it would be safe to build ...

Quote:
5am is the coldest time of night...


Good question. Big wet avalanches happen when it's warm in spring. However this was slab on persistent weak layer. It is possible cold weather / temperature gradient in snowpack was slowly making the PWL even weaker over time. Until finally the whole lot gave way.. However could also just be chance it came down in the night
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sucette wrote:
5am is the coldest time of night... why would an avalanche trigger at 3200m at that time ?


Very unlucky Ibex?
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This is the fourth avalanche that I know of and I'm sure that there have been many others like this off the glacier pre the days of social media.

I was going down the Vallons after one such slide and the devastation of the trees looked like something out of a WW1 battlefield

And as @Haggis_Trap, around ten years ago there was a video showing the snow-cloud approaching the village.

They are usually started by a large serac* breaking free and then the "trauma" of that propagating through with the resultant avalanche.

@sucette, I'm not too sure if the landslide up the Tabuc was similar off the top of the glacier above, but I think that was just a rockfall.

We spoke to Robin and Marlon, who own the Edelweiss Hotel, last evening which is just above the Tourist Office and they slept through it Laughing

Also heard another story of a guide with clients in the Chazelet sector testing the snow out the top of a descent and it went, with the guide getting out safely but losing skis and poles which he later found.

You hear stories like that and you just don't not want to ski anything above 30 degrees etc

*ironically the hotel in many of the pictures that took a fair brunt opposite the Tourist Office is the L'Hotel Restaurant Le Sérac Very Happy
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Haggis_Trap wrote:

Good question. Big wet avalanches happen when it's warm in spring. However this was slab on persistent weak layer. It is possible cold weather / temperature gradient in snowpack was slowly making the PWL even weaker over time. Until finally the whole lot gave way.. However could also just be chance it came down in the night


and you can see what Doug is talking about here.



Running up to the avalanche there was a lot of snow transport on the 6th due to the Sirocco wind which is what brought the Saharan sand to the region. This would have moved snow onto north faces. It then snowed the evening of the 9th about 15cm but there was another period of snow transport due to a southerly wind on the 10th plus a bit of a thaw so the slope was quite loaded with some variations in temperature all of which may have been a factor in weakening / overloading bonds.
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@davidof, image not loading, but the link is http://www.data-avalanche.org/attached-files/img/1613026229556-1613058995437-IMG20210211WA0010.jpg

are the grey bits in that pic shiny rock or ice?
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kitenski wrote:
@davidof, image not loading, but the link is http://www.data-avalanche.org/attached-files/img/1613026229556-1613058995437-IMG20210211WA0010.jpg

are the grey bits in that pic shiny rock or ice?


Ice I think.
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This is quite amusing. Avalanche control work on the Tignes road back in 2018. They trigger a slide with the Catex which then engulfs their vehicles parked in an avalanche couloir !


http://youtube.com/v/qWTQNsoqoRE

maybe a miscommunication between the piste patrol and the workers below.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
slight topic change... I have been skiing in Montgenevré/Cervieres area the last week I noticed a lot of slides that left exposed again the sand layer. I did a few hand-shear here and there confirming the weakness of the sand layer...There is about 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow in that area since the Sirocco. I also noticed at least at sight, that the italian side (via lattea region) got way more sand accumulation. Definitely something to very careful about? I am not an expert by any means.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@davidof, Thanks for that - just laughed myself sick Very Happy Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Charlieehr wrote:
slight topic change... I have been skiing in Montgenevré/Cervieres area the last week I noticed a lot of slides that left exposed again the sand layer. I did a few hand-shear here and there confirming the weakness of the sand layer...There is about 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow in that area since the Sirocco. I also noticed at least at sight, that the italian side (via lattea region) got way more sand accumulation. Definitely something to very careful about? I am not an expert by any means.


From the Aosta bulletin today:

Triggered avalanches
Medium and large surface slabs possible on steep slopes. The triggering is possible on open slopes even slightly affected by the wind, the
main sliding plane is in correspondence with the layer of sand and is more favourable to triggering below 2500 m. The trigger it is also
possible near ridges and hills, at new leeward accumulations and at higher altitudes.
In areas with less snow it is still possible, although difficult, to stress the weak basal layer, with potentially large slabs
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Worth a read. Sobering but educational. Please stay safe out there.

https://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche/59084
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Toadman, thank you for that.
I've never read such a comprehensive report. Maybe that is the norm and i'm just showing my ignorance.
I'm also sure i would never have performed rescue as well as they did. You need to be fit and strong. A dig down of 4-6 feet is exhausting.
Sad about the four who died, but i really liked the final comment by Chris (one of four survivors): “We all got a second chance at life today; we need to go now make a difference in the world.”
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@Toadman, very well written thanks for sharing.
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@Toadman, thanks for that. Even as a report that was a tough read with the terrible consequences it contained.
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kitenski wrote:
@Toadman, very well written thanks for sharing.


Ditto. Didn’t see if they had airbags / deployed them?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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I had to stop reading at the point where Chris found his significant other and had to stop CPR and search for other victims. What must have been going through his mind at that point? Not to mention you dig someone out and you don't recognize them. I just can't fathom the emotions, and yet like has been said by others; to continue searching for other victims in hope of saving another life. That was about as hard a read as I have ever gone through for a post avy rescue and recovery report.

And yes, to dig avy compacted snow to depths of 4'-6' is going to leave you completely exhausted. (I have only done simulated avy rescue training and just digging 2'-3' in just normal snow pack. And that can wear you out because you are basically digging as hard and as fast you physically are able.

Utah is basically dealing with a very weak snow layer down to the base. And to have North facing slopes with this Persistent Weak Layer (PWL) is very unusual and probably not going away until spring, and maybe not even then.

I plan to take an avy rescue refresher course next season. Did some avy beacon search training back in December while I was at Jackson Hole. But will stick to low angle side country here in Oregon for the rest of the season.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Avalanche fatality in Near Big Sky, Montana.


http://youtube.com/v/_gLB_fAZsb8&feature=youtu.be
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https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157701945771610&id=508686609&sfnsn=mo

very good read
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The hoar.


http://youtube.com/v/IMgfcKVI1OI
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Dabber wrote:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157701945771610&id=508686609&sfnsn=mo

very good read


Thanks for that!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Near miss from one of the Salomon pros
https://www.instagram.com/p/CLftU5dJQl-/?igshid=17r7ecmn7ce6y
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Just out of curiosity, if you find yourself on a small ridge, having just avoided something like that, I would suspect the snow to the left is just as likely to give as that on the right.

What is the safest way down? Is it to follow the route the avalanche just cleared?

I assume there is also a pretty high risk that the area above could follow?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Someone touring here today on what would normally be a piste got caught. Sounds nasty. Not sure exactly which run but he must have skinned up at least 1000m to get there, possibly further. They'd have had a fair hike out too.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
He has since died RIP Crying or Very sad
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
RIP

Impressive slide at El Chatlén, apparently a few days ago ----> https://fb.watch/3Pp2-iFDmg/
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http://www.data-avalanche.org/avalanche/1613933769158?fbclid=IwAR11t4Ja2J6SGj_LF0j1ZmELNNpxI3sJ4SVU8LpD1m52pkzKpWCCGsCnlSc

This looks big at GM Chamonix.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Not significant but spotted this little video on the data avalanche site its on the col du passion, Chamonix.

https://www.cimes19.fr/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Cassure_plaque_glacierTOUR_20210214.mp4
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One skier fatality caught in an avalanche in the Teton Range.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ski-group-sees-leader-swept-152850491.html
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This popped up on you tube and I found it very interesting

http://youtube.com/v/EsBuWRyFiUM
Wilson Glade avalanche Q&A. It's quite long but the contributors "take home thoughts" are very thought provoking!!!!
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