SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

KVRS Reports Increased Avalanche Risk


April 07, 2012

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -  Earlier this week local conditions experienced a high wind event at higher elevations accompanied with moderate snowfall above 2,200 feet on Deer Mountain.  

Jerry Kiffer of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad said the wind-transported snow has produced wind slabs on all West to Northeast facing slopes of Deer Mountain, and a significant weak layer in the snowpack now exists at 24-42 inches below the surface.

Kiffer said snow stability tests conducted Wednesday failed easily on all West to Northeast aspects.  Furthermore, Kiffer said, cornices are large and will become more unstable with the solar warming forecast in the coming days.  

Avalanche danger on West to Northeast slopes of Deer Mountain is considerable and likely increasing through the weekend said Kiffer.  

"Any persons venturing into backcountry avalanche terrain should have the proper safety gear and know how to use it," said Kiffer.  "Give cornices a wide berth when travelling on or below ridgelines and avoid sun-exposed slopes especially when solar radiation is strong, or the snow is moist or wet.  Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making are essential in the backcountry this weekend."

"Be safe, always ski, snowmachine, hike or climb with a partner and live to play another day," said Kiffer.


Source of News: 

Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad



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