By Goat Staff
Avalanche Canada is warning backcountry users to tread cautiously between now and Sunday as warm temperatures threaten to aggravate weak layers in much of B.C. and Jasper.
The Special Public Avalanche Warning is for numerous forecast regions in British Columbia and Alberta and includes the entire Robson Valley. The regions affected are: Sea to Sky, South Coast Inland, Cariboos, North and South Columbias, Kootenay-Boundary, Purcells, and Jasper and Glacier National Parks. For a map of the affected regions, click here.
The special warning came into effect Thurs. Fri. 10th and will be in effect until Sunday, Feb. 13.
“Our main concern is a critical weak layer buried about 60 cm below the snow surface throughout these regions,” said James Floyer, Forecasting Program Supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “This layer is deep enough to produce large avalanches, yet shallow enough to be triggered by a human or machine. The forecast of warm temperatures and sun will contribute to this problem this weekend.”
This weak layer is most active at treeline elevation, he said, where the forest opens up and gives way to the alpine and many good riding options exist. Backcountry users are encouraged to stick to simple terrain and to avoid grouping up in places threatened by avalanches from above.
“Under the current conditions, sparsely treed slopes do not provide protection from avalanches and could be even more dangerous due to the risk of being swept into trees,” Floyer said. “Lower angled slopes or densely forested areas, where the tree canopies are touching, will be better choices as long as they are not threatened by steep slopes from above.”
Backcountry users should always check avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Avalanche Canada reminds rec users that everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the knowledge to use them.