Avalanche Safety in Gulmarg: 5 Red Flags

Avalanche Safety in the Gulmarg Backcountry: 5 Red Flags

Gulmarg, Kashmir | 23 November, 2017Paul Lalley

A devastating Avalanche in Gulmarg From 2015

A D4 avalanche can destroy a small town. Photo: Matt Hage.

Backcountry Safety: 5 Red Flags

1. New Snow

90% of human-triggered avalanches happen within 24 hours after a storm. Give storm snow the utmost respect and assume high to extreme danger within 24 hours after a storm. Follow this rule and you will eliminate your risk of getting caught in an avalanche by 90%.

2. Signs Of Recent Avalanches

If you see signs of natural avalanches (crown lines, avalanche debris) this is a sign that avalanche danger should be taken very seriously. Take extra precaution if the natural avalanches have occurred at a similar elevation and on the same aspect as the slope you want to ride.

3. Collapsing & Cracking In Snowpack

If you feel the slope collapse under your feet or hear whomping sounds this is a sign of unstable layers in the snowpack. Cracks may also shoot out from your skis or board as you skin or ride in fresh snow. These are all signs of dangerous snow layers.

4. Rapid Rises In Temperature

No matter the starting temperature, any rapid warming is dangerous because the snowpack does not have time to adjust to the temperature change. Take extra precaution on the first warm day after a storm cycle.

5. Strong Winds Drifting Snow

If the wind is strong enough to transport snow then the avalanche conditions can change from stable to dangerous without any new snow. Watch for blowing snow on high ridges and beware of wind loaded pockets at the top of faces and chutes.


In the event of an emergency please contact the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department’s Gulmarg Ski Patrol via the below methods:

Phone – +91 700 642 7541
UHF – 147.675 MHz
VHF – 467.6375 MHz
Simplex – Channel 11
Click & Download Emergency Contact Card (.vcf)

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