Be Cautious When in the Backcountry This Weekend
SUN VALLEY, Idaho (KLIX) – Another weekend is upon us, which means more people will be heading into the backcountry. That also means those who do should use extra caution.
According to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, there are still dangers of human-triggered avalanches in the Sawtooth, Smoky and Boulder mountains.
You’re still likely to trigger avalanches big enough to bury you at upper elevations and in steep, shadier, middle and lower elevation terrain. The most suspect slopes have enough snow cover to keep you off the ground and have fresh drifts or pockets of wind-transported snow. Snowfall and wind will build small, fresh wind slabs that could be sensitive to your weight. Avoiding wind-loaded terrain will reduce the chances of getting caught in avalanches.
Three-foot thick wind slabs are a danger in some backcountry locations, but drifting snow may hide some of them, so the center suggests those who go afield use clues such as “ridgetop cornices, drifts, and exposed rocks to help identify which slopes are loaded and which are scoured.”
The center advises people in the backcountry to avoid wind-loaded terrain to reduce the chances of getting caught in an avalanche.