Low Probability, High Consequence

Low Probability, High Consequence


There has been a dramatic shift from last week's Avalanche Warning and major avalanche cycle to today at Hebgen Lake. Triggering a large avalanche is becoming much less likely. We had ECTXs in both our snowpits. In one (on a NE aspect), the weak layers were unremarkable. In the second (SE aspect), the snowpack was thinner, and we found a couple of layers of facets. Nothing broke in the test, but recent large avalanches in the vicinity lead me to maintain a healthy skepticism. We remain wary because if you find the wrong spot, trigger an avalanche, and get caught, the result could easily be unsurvivable.

If you take that chance, ease into avalanche terrain rather than going for large slopes, choose less wind-loaded slopes that are generally safer, and follow safe travel protocols, only exposing one person at a time to avalanche terrain.

On a non-avalanche related note, while I was glassing Lionhead Ridge for avalanches, I saw what I believe were the markings (mud and debris) from a bear coming out of hibernation. The season is changing—time to carry bear spray. I know, if it's not one thing, it's another. 

Lionhead Range
Location (from list)
Hebgen Lake
Observer Name
Dave Zinn