Students who had taken the class within the last two years and had at least one season of travelling in the backcountry reported how often they dig snowpits: Never (14%), Occasionally (31%), Often (25%), and Always (30%).
Students who were registered for the class but had not yet taken it reported how often they dig snowpits: Never (62%), Occasionally (17%), Often (14%), and Always (7%).
Spring is a fickle time in the mountains. Weather and snow conditions can change quickly, producing a variety of avalanche problems. Here are some avalanche concerns to keep in mind:
1. NEW SNOW AND WIND-LOADING
On Saturday, April 11, 2015 four skiers entered the Hanging Garden Couloir on Beehive Peak north of Big Sky, Montana in the northern Madison Range. One skier triggered and was caught in a very small avalanche that carried him over cliffs about 300 feet tall. He was not buried in the avalanche debris but died of trauma. The avalanche happened at 11:58 a.m. at 10,400 feet and was 10-20 feet wide and one foot deep for about 6 feet of its width. The victim was carried approximately 700 vertical feet. The avalanche danger was rated LOW on the day of the accident. U.S.
Bridger Range Gallatin Range Madison Range Lionhead area near West Yellowstone Cooke City
View from the top of the Hanging Garden couloir on April 9. Recent ski tracks can be seen by the broken snow. Photo: D. Lennon
The group of four skiers involved in Saturday's accident used this route to ascent the south face of Beehive Peak to access the Hanging Garden couloir on the north side. Photo: GNFAC
Total snow depth from the Timberline Station at the Yellowstone Club at 9400 feet. Changes in snow depth indicate snowfall amounts.