Experts in Avalanche Safety Raise Awareness
With the warmer weather and the heavier snow, the Northwest Avalanche Center wants people who enjoy the great outdoors to know before you go.
"It's all based around four main parts and that's get the gear, get the training, get the forecast and get the picture." Matt Primomo with the Northwest Avalanche Center said.
Those four main points were discussed in an introductory class last night at the Wenatchee River Institute in Leavenworth.
As part of the center's "Know Before You Go" campaign, experts with NWAC are educating the public about the warning signs of avalanche dangers while skiing, snowboarding and hiking.
Primomo says the region is well into the five tiers of the avalanche danger scale: Low, Moderate, Considerable, High and Extreme.
"Once you get into considerable, that's considered dangerous avalanche conditions so we're right there in the middle for dangerous avalanche conditions, and we've been kind of hanging around there quite a bit recently." Primomo said.
Primomo urges people who recreate in the higher elevations to know the terrain before they venture further.
"Sometime the snowpack will collapse, and you may hear a whoomph, a whoomphing sound. It's actually known as a whoomph. If you hear that, it's snowpack's way of saying it's unstable."
At last night's meeting, NWAC instructors delivered presentations in several video clips that laid out the essentials people should pack before they venture into the backcountry.
Because the average burial depth of a person caught in an avalanche is about six feet, NWAC instructors say avalanche transceivers, probes and shovels have been known to save lives.
Other gear recommendations include extra gloves, first aid kits, repair kit that includes a drill bit, helmet, zip ties, and water.
NWAC says people trapped under the snow of an avalanche have an 80-90% chance of survival if they're rescued within 10 minutes.
Up to 20 minutes, the survival rate is just 36%.
NWAC says 75-percent of avalanche fatalities are a result of asphyxiation.
For more information, click on the link to go to NWAC's website.