Purcells included in Avalanche Warning
Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada, is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users across numerous forecast regions in British Columbia and Alberta, including the Purcell Mountains.
This special warning is in effect immediately and will apply through to the end of Sunday, Feb. 13. It applies to the following regions: Purcells; North and South Columbias; Kootenay-Boundary; Jasper and Glacier National Parks; Sea to Sky; South Coast Inlan; Cariboos.
“Our main concern is a critical weak layer buried about 60 cm below the snow surface throughout these regions,” explained James Floyer, Forecasting Program Supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “This layer is deep enough to produce large avalanches, yet shallow enough to be triggered by a human or machine. The forecast of warm temperatures and sun will contribute to this problem this weekend.”
This weak layer is most active at treeline elevation, where the forest opens up and gives way to the alpine and many good riding options exist. Backcountry users are encouraged to stick to simple terrain and to avoid grouping up in places threatened by avalanches from above.
“Under the current conditions, sparsely treed slopes do not provide protection from avalanches and could be even more dangerous due to the risk of being swept into trees,” stressed Floyer. “Lower angled slopes or densely forested areas, where the tree canopies are touching, will be better choices as long as they are not threatened by steep slopes from above.”
Backcountry users should always check their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the knowledge to use it.
Map showing areas under alert courtesy Avalanche Canada