Information on risk of avalanches

Posted in Current conditions

OUT OF SEASON

During winter, either spontaneously or because the passage of people, the conditions triggering avalanches. That danger can be measured by probing the snowpack, and they can be shared with public by means of an international range which is easily understandable.

Danger of avalanches European Scale holds 5 risk levels defined by an evaluation on stability and its consequences, which will determine the probability of avalanche activation.

In mountain risk zero does not exist. The danger to which a skier or a mountaineer is exposed will grow with the index value.

 

Danger of avalanches European Scale 

 

Danger level

Snowpack stability

Avalanche triggering probability

Consequences for persons outside secured zones / recommendations

VERY HIGH

nivel-5

The snowpack largely unstable in general.

Numerous large-sized and often very large-sized natural avalanches can be expected, even in moderately steep terrain.

Highly unfavourable conditions. Avoid open terrain.

HIGH

nivel-4

The snowpack is poorly bonded on most steep slopes (*).

Triggering is likely even from low additional loads (**) on many steep slopes (*). In some cases, numerous medium-sized and often large-sized natural avalanches can be expected.

Unfavourable conditions. Extensive experience in the assessment of avalanche danger is required. Remain in moderately steep terrain / heed avalanche run out zones.

CONSIDERABLE

nivel-3

The snowpack is moderately to poorly bonded on many steep slopes (*).

Triggering is possible, even from low additional loads (**) particularly on the indicated steep slopes. In some cases medium-sized, in isolated cases large-sized natural avalanches are possible.

Partially unfavourable conditions.Experience in the assessment of avalanche danger is required. Steep slopes of indicated aspects and altitude zones should be avoided if possible.

MODERATE

nivel-2

The snowpack is only moderately well bonded on some steep slopes (*), otherwise well bonded in general.

Triggering is possible primarily from high additional loads, particularly on the indicated steep slopes. Large-sized natural avalanches are unlikely.

Mostly favourable conditions. Careful route selection, especially on steep slopes of indicated aspects and altitude zones.

LOW

nivel-1

The snowpack is well bonded and stable in general.

Triggering is generally possible only from high additional loads (**) in isolated areas of very steep, extreme terrain. Only sluffs and small-sized natural avalanches are possible.

 Generally safe conditions.

 

(*) The avalanche prone terrain is generally explained in greater detail in Avalanche Bulletin (e.g. altitude zone, aspect, type of terrain).
- Moderately steep terrain: slopes flatter than about 30 degrees.
- Steep slopes: slopes with an angle of more than about 30 degrees.
- Steep extreme terrain: those which are particularly unfavourable as regards slope angle (usually steeper than about 40°), terrain profile, proximity to ridge, roughness of underlying ground.
(**) Additional load:
- Low (e.g. single skier, snowboarder, snowshoe hiker).
- High (e.g. group of skiers without spacing, snowmobile/groomer, avalanche blasting).

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