• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 35s

Conditions ripe for deadly avalanches

By Bonney Bowman 7:14 AM January 2, 2014

Many people think only steep slopes can cause an avalanche, but that's not the case

ANCHORAGE-  The risk is high for deadly avalanches in the areas of Turnagain Pass and Hatcher Pass.

The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center issued a warning Wednesday about a considerable danger of human-triggered avalanches.

There are things people can do in the backcountry to reduce the risk, said Dave Mayo-Kiely.

Before he took his family out to ski and sled on Wednesday, he said he checked the conditions.

“We had heard that it was pretty bad avalanche conditions up at Turnagain Pass and whatnot so we made sure we just stayed off of the steep slopes around here and stayed in the open meadows,” Mayo-Kiely said.

“When there’s danger we try and stay away and generally with the kids just avoid anything that could ever be considered close to avalanche,” he said.

When it comes to avalanche safety, it’s all about getting educated.

“Biggest thing to keep in mind is if it’s fun to ski or sled on, it’s steep enough to avalanche,” said Brian Skien, a sales specialist at REI.

Many people think only steep slopes can cause an avalanche, but that’s not the case, he said. More and more people are back country skiing, which ups the risk.

Skein said having the right tools can save lives. He called it the trifecta: beacon, probe and shovel.

The beacon helps locate a buried victim and the probe is used to pinpoint the victim to dig them out, which is why having someone to dig a person out is vital, he said.

“After 10 minutes, the survivability rate just takes a cliff dive so really companion rescue is your best bet,” Skein said.

REI offers avalanche safety courses, as do places like the North American Outdoor Institute and Alaska Avalanche School.

Knowing the warning signs and how to react if an avalanche happens are the keys to being safe in the great outdoors, Skein said.

Latest Stories

  • Bloomberg to world leaders: Ignore Trump on climate

    by Associated Press on Apr 23, 17:36

    NEW YORK (AP) – New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he wants to help save an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions. The former New York City mayor addressed his intensifying focus on climate change an interview with The Associated Press. Last week, he released a new book, “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and […]

  • Sports

    BLM seeks public input on proposed Red Devil Mine cleanup

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 17:17

    The Red Devil Mine is located on the Kuskokwim near the Red Devil Creek between Crooked Creek and Sleetmute. It started mining in the ’30s, picked up steam in the ’50s and ’60s but has not operated since the 1970s. The problem is that there’s mercury, arsenic and antimony in the soils left behind by […]

  • Students sue Trump administration over climate change

    by CBS News on Apr 23, 17:07

    EUGENE, Ore. — Avery McRae has been passionate about the environment for half a lifetime, and she’s been worried about climate change since kindergarten. Now, at 11, she is really getting serious. She recently signed on to sue President Trump and the U.S. government. “Trump is not doing anything to help stop climate change,” she […]

  • News

    Water streaming across Antarctica surprises, worries scientists

    by CBS News on Apr 23, 16:45

    In a unique study spanning the entire continent, scientists have found that water is gushing across Antarctica — more than they ever realized. The researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found significant drainage of meltwater flowing across the continent’s ice sheets during summer in Antarctica. Until now, these streams of water were mainly […]

  • APD makes 1 arrest in Carrs-Safeway shooting

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 15:46

    Anchorage Police say they have at least one of the persons responsible for a shooting inside a grocery store over the weekend in custody. Anchorage Police Lieutenant John McKinnon says 18-year-old Devon Maurice Brown has been arrested in connection to the trashing of the Carrs-Safeway on Northern Lights Boulevard, as well as the shooting of one […]

  • News

    Fire damages Sand Lake duplex

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 14:55

    Crews were dispatched to a house fire early Sunday afternoon in Sand Lake. Just after noon, 13 Anchorage Fire units were called to a duplex in the 7800 block of Fenn Street. Homeowner told me everyone got out of the building OK. She does not know what caused the fire. @ktva pic.twitter.com/9SfbGD1aCA — Eric Ruble […]

  • Girl, 4, missing from Palmer area for a month

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 14:45

    Alaska State Troopers are asking for the public’s help in locating a 4-year-old girl who’s believed to have been taken by her father. Troopers in Palmer says 4-year-old Charlie hasn’t been seen since March 21, and the girl was with her father, 57-year-old Raymond Martin, of Wasilla. Authorities say Martin failed to relinquish custody of […]

  • News

    North Korea detains third U.S. citizen

    by CBS News/Associated Press on Apr 23, 12:55

    PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea has detained a U.S. citizen, officials said Sunday, bringing the number of Americans being held there to three. Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained on Saturday, according to Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Park said […]