Backcountry Basics Step 4 Get the Picture (Video)

Get the big picture about the mountain and terrain and learn how to look for snow instability and avalanches.

This Backcountry Basics Step 4 Get the Picture video will instruct you on how to get the big picture about the mountain and terrain and how to look for where the risk areas for snow instability and avalanches may lie for the day. They review info sources like locations of recent avalanche activity, terrain photos, maps, and reports from others to anticipate dangerous terrain and where to get the best snow.

RESEARCH AND INSPECT YOUR ROUTE, IDENTIFY AND AVOID DANGEROUS TERRAIN.

1. Research your route, review terrain photos, maps, and reports from others to anticipate dangerous terrain and where to get the best snow

2. Plan to avoid the current avalanche problems:

  • Identify terrain to avoid for the day mark it on your terrain imagery so you won't be tempted.
  • Create a list of desirable terrain options where you expect to find the goods, use the terrain imagery to make sure you wind up in the right place.
  • Note where you expect to make key decisions for the day, mark it on your terrain imagery so you'll remember to regroup.
  • Let someone know where you plan to go and when you plan to return.
  • Stay out of the way of any avalanche mitigation planned for where you intend to ride.
  • Anticipate and look for signs of hazardous or changing conditions in the field.

3. Recent avalanche activity:

  • Changing or significant wind, snowfall, temperature
  • Cracking or collapsing snow
  • Recent wind deposited snow

4. Communicate within your group:

  • Is anyone outside of their comfort zone?
  • Talk specifically about the terrain ahead, exposure to hazards, and your plan to avoid the problems.