• 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

  • Politics

    Poll: Nearly two-thirds of debate watchers said Hillary Clinton won

    by CBS News on Sep 27, 6:51

    Nearly two-thirds of voters said Monday that Hillary Clinton won the first general election debate that night at Hofstra University while close to a third said the same about Donald Trump, according to a CNN/ORC poll of voters who watched them face off. More of the people polled were more likely to describe themselves as Democrats, CNN […]

  • News

    Alaska group asks governor to delay sale of Fox well

    by Associated Press on Sep 27, 6:46

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A grassroots group is appealing to Alaska’s governor to keep a popular watering hole north of Fairbanks open to the public. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/2d3o5qd ) that the Fox Springs Task Force is looking for ways to fund maintenance at the Fox well. In its Sept. 22 letter to […]

  • News

    Body of missing hiker found after 4-day search

    by Associated Press on Sep 27, 6:32

    SITKA, Alaska (AP) – The body of a man who went on a day hike on Mount Verstovia in Sitka has been found after a four-day search. The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2cA3w3q ) that the search for 37-year-old Michael Hansen ended Friday after his body was discovered at the bottom of a steep mountainside […]

  • News

    How humpback whales are causing conflict in Southeast Alaska

    by Emily Carlson on Sep 26, 22:56

    Once hunted to the brink of extinction, the humpback whale is making a comeback. Researchers in southeast Alaska estimate the number of humpbacks has quadrupled in the last 20 years. However, that increase comes with a cost. Maeve O’Connell lives for data. The more she has, the more she understands what’s going on beneath the ocean. […]

  • Politics

    Many UAA students still undecided after first presidential debate

    by Liz Raines on Sep 26, 22:47

    More than 100 University of Alaska Anchorage students gathered Monday to watch the first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. According to a poll by UAA’S debate team, 52 percent of the students — many of whom are first-time presidential voters — said they were supporting Clinton, while 15 percent were undecided. […]

  • News

    Anchorage has ‘AmbuBus’ ready for catastrophic disaster

    by Daniella Rivera on Sep 26, 21:00

    Anchorage has a project in the bus barn that could help you during the next mass emergency. The “AmbuBus,” or Medical Ambulance Bus, is an old People Mover bus the city converted to an ambulance that can transport patients by the dozen. “If there’s an earthquake, if there’s a lot of trauma in the community, the ambulance […]

  • News

    Troopers say K-9 death leaves agency with just 6 trained dogs

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 26, 20:46

    Alaska State Troopers said a K-9 that was shot and killed following a traffic stop early Sunday morning in Palmer is the first dog to die in the line of duty in the state. On Monday, troopers wore a black band over their badges in honor of the death. Troopers haven’t identified the dog or […]

  • News

    State worker accidently tweets about rape, Trump on DHSS account

    by Emily Carlson on Sep 26, 20:35

    We apologize, some recent tweets were inadvertently posted to our account by a DHSS staff member who was logged into the wrong account. — Alaska DHSS (@Alaska_DHSS) September 27, 2016   ANCHORAGE — The state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is apologizing to Alaskans after one of their employees tweeted about rape and […]