Mountain Sports Collective (MSC) is reporting a large avalanche on the Etheridge Ridge in the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains and other avalanche activity in the area, including Leatherbarrell Creek. A person was caught in the main slide and partially buried, but was uninjured. This highlights the need to be very mindful of conditions in the backcountry at present.
It’s being billed as the best single snow event of the winter. Regardless of the title or hype, its certainly a fantastic dump across all the mountains of the mainland and Tasmania.
But it has also led to serious avalanche potential. Here is a summary of the current (AUG 9) Mountain Sports Collective backcountry conditions bulletin.
Woo hoo! Winter is back! Finally, good conditions in the backcountry. But with heavy snowfalls that have accumulated on almost non existent base, and high winds moving snow around onto the leeward side of slopes, take care out there.
Mountain Sports Collective (MSC) reports that ‘the rate of accumulation, particularly on aspects lee to the north west is a problem. A considerable wind slab avalanche hazard exists as observed at both Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts and believed to be widespread particularly in the alpine (above 1650m)’.
These conditions exist across the Alps.
Check here for the MSC Backcountry conditions bulletins before heading out.
MSC says: ‘Conservative terrain choices are advised for travelers in the backcountry for the foreseeable future’.
Avalanche Training Australia (ATA) is the Australian arm for avalanche training courses of Whiteroom in Australia. ATA as a brand is new over the past few years but Whiteroom has been running courses in Australia for many years.
Avalanche Training Australia is licensed by Avalanche NZ to offer accredited 2-day Avalanche Awareness and 4-day Backcountry Avalanche Avoidance courses during the Australian winter.
UPDATE. WED August 8, 2018
MSC have issued a ‘High Danger’ warning.
“The current conditions on the range are about as bad as we have seen in the four year span of running the program. Equal to the various ‘Blizzards of OZ’ in 17 and the various other events of triggered slides swept riders and buried them, and as of the time of writing there have been no incidents. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and that’s the real cut and thrust of this message. This event will linger for the next 48hrs+ so hold the charge, and urge the rest of your immediate pow chasing mates to heed the warning until the snow has settled.”
Additionally, Mt Stirling ski patrol has closed Stanley Bowl:
‘Traditionally Stanley Bowl is considered safe from avalanches. But the conditions we have observed which include a cornice with a large fracture through it are severe enough for us to feel the need to close it’.
Bill Barker from Mt Hotham patrol says:
There is ‘considerable avalanche danger in the back-country again today. There was several reports of skier triggered avalanches yesterday, and the weak layer that produced these still exists today but it is now buried deeper in the snowpack which will result in larger avalanches if it releases today.
Avalanche Training Australia in conjunction with Avalanche NZ is proud to offer accredited 2-day Avalanche Awareness and 4-day Backcountry Avalanche Avoidance courses during the 2018 Australian winter.
These will be held out of Falls Creek in north eastern Victoria.
Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider which runs AST1 courses in NSW and Victoria. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. As say AAA note: ‘Yes avalanches do happen in Australia, and AST1 is also essential if you and your friends venture into the side or backcountry when skiing or snowboarding overseas’.
They offer a two day AST1 course, which has a theory day and a field day. They are now bringing their training to Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.
Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider. We run AST1 courses in NSW and Victoria. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. Yes, avalanches do happen in Australia, and AST1 is also essential if you and your friends venture into the side or backcountry when skiing or snowboarding overseas.
Our Avalanche Canada Accredited Instructors are David Herring and Luka Szczepanik.
They are offering AST 1 courses this winter in the Snowy Mountains, Mt Hotham and Mt Stirling.
There have been some changes in the alpine guiding and avalanche training scene in Australia this winter. Well known operation Main Range Backcountry (MRBC) is no more, with two new businesses emerging: one is SnowSafety, run by Adam West. The other is Alpine Access Australia, operated by Dave and Pieta Herring.
Dave and Pieta continue to offer guided touring on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains plus two day avalanche awareness courses. Alpine Access Australia is an accredited Avalanche Canada AST Provider. Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. Participants acquire new skills and knowledge to help them keep safe in the backcountry. They teach the Avalanche Canada Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST1) Course, which aims to provide an entry-level decision-making framework for assessing avalanche risk. Courses include a day in the classroom and a day in the field. They cost $300.
For details on their tours, please check here.
For details on their AST courses please check here.
This winter they’re running courses both in NSW (Jindabyne area) and the Hotham area in Victoria.
For general information on AAA, please check here.