Avalanche Safety in the Gulmarg Backcountry: 5 Red Flags
Gulmarg, Kashmir | 23 November, 2017 | Paul Lalley
A D4 avalanche can destroy a small town. Photo: Matt Hage.
Backcountry Safety: 5 Red Flags
1. New Snow90% 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 AvalanchesIf 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 SnowpackIf 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 TemperatureNo 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 SnowIf 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.
GULMARG SKI PATROL: EMERGENCY CONTACTIn 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
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