Winter in the Alps started late this season, just like the previous two winters. We have been warning for some time for a very unstable snow cover due to the old weak layers in the snowpack. To give you a bit of an idea of where and when the fatal avalanches have taken place, we created the map below for you. We also share a sheet with you where you can have a look at the details of the accidents. Hopefully we can all learn a bit from those accidents...
You can get access to the sheet with all the fatal avalanche accidents so far this season by clicking on this link. You can see the location, date, the avalanche danger, altitude, exposition, inclination, the number of victims, activity and a link to more news about the avalanche.
If we have a look at the statistics, a number of things are pretty interesting:
- First, it is striking that most of the victims were not skiing or snowboarding. We see a lot of alpinists, hikers and people on snowshoes in the statistics this season.
- Second, it is striking how many casualties there are in Austria early in the season. It is highly unusual that Austria has the dubious honor of having the most avalanche victims.
- Not really striking, because we see it every year, but it remains painful to see that there are victims that don't carry an avalanche transceiver or were in the backcountry alone. It's looking for a needle in a haystack for the search and rescue teams.
Unstable snow conditions
The Alps still have to deal with an unstable snow cover. Please, keep asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you have the right knowledge?
- Do you (and the other riders in your group) have the gear (avalanche beacon, shovel and probe)?
- Have you read the local avalanche forecast?
- Do you know which parts of the mountain you have to avoid that particular day to minimize the risk?
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