For the third weekend in a row, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is issuing a special public avalanche warning for large sections of B.C. The warning includes the backcountry areas of the North Rockies and the Columbia Mountains, from Mackenzie south to the US border and east of Prince George, Kamloops and Osoyoos. Also included are the South Chilcotin Mountains, north of Pemberton. The warning is in effect immediately, through to Monday March 8.
“Three warnings in three consecutive weekends is unprecedented,” says Karl Klassen, the CAC public avalanche bulletins manager. “Several weak layers in the upper snowpack are proving to be very persistent and show no sign of improvement, even after being buried for over two weeks. Managing the risk presented by this extremely complex avalanche problem is best left to those with high level training and extensive experience who use professional-level safety procedures.”
Large, unsurvivable avalanches are being triggered even in low-angle terrain, explains Klassen. The CAC has compiled an online photo album of recent avalanches in an effort to better communicate the seriousness of the hazard and its widespread nature. This resource can be found here: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/march2010
Backcountry recreationists are urged to stay away from avalanche terrain until the snowpack becomes more stable. Up to date information about avalanche safety, education, and conditions is available at: www.avalanche.ca.