Tag: avalanches

Study eyes link between giant Tibet avalanche and global warming

Lubrication by meltwater may have enabled massive slide

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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey, Sentinel data from the European Space Agency, and ASTER data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

Staff Report

Although the world’s ice and snow is melting rapidly on a geologic time scale, it still seems to be a gradual process, at least for casual observers. But last summer, July 16, to be exact, 70 million tons of ice broke off the Aru Glacier in western Tibet and crashed far down into the valley, killing nine nomadic yak herders. NASA scientists reported on the avalanche here.

A team of scientists who analyzed the giant avalanche now say there’s a good chance that global warming was a key factor in the unusual slide. The researchers, who published their findings this week in the Journal of Glaciology, said that that the avalanche lasted about four or five minutes, burying 3.7 square miles of the valley floor in that time. Something — likely meltwater at the base of the glacier — must have lubricated the ice to speed its flow down the mountain, they said. Continue reading “Study eyes link between giant Tibet avalanche and global warming”

Colorado: Avalanche kills climber on Mt. Kelso

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A deadly Dec. 31 avalanche in Colorado. Photo courtesy CAIC.

New Year’s Eve accident marks first avalanche death of the season

Staff Report

FRISCO — A hiker trying to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks died in an avalanche on the last day of 2014. The accident happend on the Kelso Ridge approach to Torreys Peak, a 14er along the Continental Divide between Summit and Clear Creek counties.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, two climbers met at the base of Steven’s Gulch Road, near the Bakerville exit along I-70 and joined with a third climber for the planned ascent. The trio traveled on snowshoes up Steven’s Gulch, then used an an existing skin track to traverse across several avalanche paths on the east side of Mt. Kelso. Continue reading “Colorado: Avalanche kills climber on Mt. Kelso”

Colorado forecasters issue avalanche watch

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A strong storm will increase the avalanche danger in the Colorado mountains.

Avalanche cycle likely by Sunday, experts say

Staff Report

FRISCO — An incoming winter storm has prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue an avalanche watch for most of the Colorado Mountains, with the exception of the southern San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos.

Heavy snow falling on a weak snowpack will quickly push the avalanche hazard into the red zone, with triggered avalanches all but certain on slide-prone terrain the next few days. Continue reading “Colorado forecasters issue avalanche watch”

Crowdfunding push aims to cut avalanche deaths

A wet snow avalanche in Tenmile Canyon, near Frisco, Colorado.
A wet snow avalanche in Tenmile Canyon, near Frisco, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Snowsports industry, safety agencies team up for Project Zero

Staff Report

With 25 backcountry avalanche deaths in the U.S. this winter, and eight in Colorado, mountain enthusiasts are launching a major crowdfunding push to boost the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The Colorado effort is part of an ambitious national push to reduce avalanche fatalities to zero by 2025. Project Zero is a collaboration between AIARE, Snowsports Industries America, Friends of the CAIC, the Utah Avalanche Center, Northwest Avalanche Center, Canadian Avalanche Centre, National Ski Areas Association and the National Ski Patrol.

Continue reading “Crowdfunding push aims to cut avalanche deaths”

Avalanches kill two in Colorado

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High avalanche danger prevailed across the Colorado mountains when two backcountry skiers died in snow slides Feb. 10.

High slide danger persists across the mountains

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s exceptionally deep snowpack turned deadly this week, as a backcountry traveler near Kebler Pass was killed in a large avalanche. Search and rescue crews also found  another victim in the backcountry between Keystone and Breckenridge after a two-day search.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the Feb. 10 Kebler Pass slide involved two snowmobilers caught in a “very large avalanche” on a south- to southeast-facing slope below treeline. The slide broke between two to five-feet deep, about 600 feet wide and ran about 750 vertical feet. Debris at the bottom of the slide piled up to 20 feet deep.

Continue reading “Avalanches kill two in Colorado”

Colorado: Big slides likely in the backcountry

Forecasters issue avalanche advisory for Summit-Vail and Front Range mountain zones

An avalanche near Vail Pass, Colorado.
Big, dangerous slides like this slab avalanche in Uneva Bowl, near Vail Pass, are likely in the Colorado backcountry the next few days. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dangerous avalanche conditions will persist across most of Colorado’s mountains for the next few days, as new snow and winds combine to bring the snowpack to its breaking point. With more snow in the forecast, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an advisory for the Vail-Summit and Front Range zones, valid through 8 a.m. Monday (Jan. 12). Continue reading “Colorado: Big slides likely in the backcountry”

Backcountry: Four avalanche deaths since March 1

Slide8New snow brings spike in avalanche danger

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Avalanches have killed four people since March 1, including a snowboarder near Cameron Pass (west of Fort Collins, March 2), a snowmobiler in Utah and a climber on Mountain Washington, in New Hampshire.

The latest Colorado avalanche was a monster, breaking up to six feet deep in places. The slide was estimated at 1,200 feet wide and broke trees as it crashed down the mountain. A second person was injured in the slide and evacuated from the scene by helicopter, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Continue reading “Backcountry: Four avalanche deaths since March 1”