"I've never seen an avalanche forecast like this": SAR member begs backcountry enthusiasts to stay home

Dec 1 2021, 7:31 pm

With the avalanche forecast rated extreme for the entire Sea to Sky mountain range, one search and rescue member is urging backcountry enthusiasts to stay home and avoid the danger.

Avalanche Canada says there’s an “extreme risk” — the group’s highest rating of avalanche warning — in the alpine, treeline, and below the treeline for the Sea to Sky mountains Wednesday after an atmospheric river storm raised temperatures causing snow to melt.

“Large, destructive avalanches will occur Tuesday night through Wednesday. Don’t mess with avalanche terrain,” the agency said in its avalanche risk bulletin.

Avalanche risk is also rated high for the South Coast Inland mountains and the alpine areas of the North Shore mountains.

Michael Coyle, a member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue, tweeted Wednesday that backcountry skiers, snowshoers, and ice climbers should stay home.

“I’ve never seen an avalanche forecast like this,” Coyle said. “Today is a good day to take a day off and stay out of the backcountry.”

The heavy snowfall that turned into rain will release “storm slabs,” and overall conditions will lead to larger-than-expected avalanches, according to Avalanche Canada.

“These are the kind of events we’d usually see in the spring,” Coyle said. “Large, full path climax avalanches that chew up forests.”

Parks Canada temporarily closed Highway 93 and Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden for avalanche control.

Wednesday’s avalanche forecast is even more intense than Tuesday’s, with several regions being upgraded in risk level. Here are Avalanche Canada’s ratings for the ranges surrounding Vancouver:

Sea to Sky

Avalanche

Avalanche Canada

South Coast

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada

South Coast Inland

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada

 

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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