VANCOUVER — A warning that anyone venturing into higher levels of the backcountry around Vancouver faced “considerable” avalanche risk was downgraded late Wednesday. Recent heavy snows on the North Shore mountains had triggered the warning from the Canadian Avalanche Centre, but today’s risk is now rated as moderate.
Moderate means that a natural avalanche is unlikely, but human-triggered slides are possible, so backcountry skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers need to be cautious, said Clifford Umpleby, a forecaster with the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin.
A moderate risk is described as a two on a scale of one to five, with five being the worst. A level three, or considerable, risk rating means natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered avalanches are likely, said Shannon Werner, a public avalanche forecaster.
On Vancouver Island, the risk remains moderate in the alpine and treeline areas for the next few days, with caution advised on steeper terrain, Umpleby said. Below the treeline, the risk is low on the Island for the next three days, with no major accumulations of snow expected.
To the best of Umpleby’s knowledge, there has never been a fatality due to an avalanche on the Island.
Up to 50 centimetres of snow fell on the North Shore mountains in recent days. The Revelstoke-based Canadian Avalanche Centre advised backcountry enthusiasts to be aware of “whumpfing, hollow sounds, shooting cracks or recent avalanches. Avoid exposure to terrain traps where the consequences of a small avalanche could be serious.” The centre’s website is avalanche.ca.
© Copyright 2013