Today I was working with Max to deliver an avalanche awareness day on Aonach Mor for the Fort William Mountain Festival.
The day started inside going through the strategies of planning a day in the hills in winter by looking at information that is available on the weather, snow conditions and proposed terrain.
The day was based around the ‘Be Avalanche Aware’ information available on the Scottish Avalanche Information service website which is the most up to date way of thinking about avalanche safety: think of your group, the terrain and weather/snow conditions in the planning stage, whilst on the hill and at key points in your journey.
There is a strong emphasis that 75% of decision-making for avalanche avoidance should happen when planning your day before you even step foot on the hill, including what hill is appropriate to go up with the current conditions.
With this we planned a route up the Nid ridge on Aonach Mor and around the top of the ski area looking at ways to identify potential danger areas of snow that backed up our thinking in the planning stage. We then looked at quick ways whist walking to start to identify potential weak sliding layers by using the boot and ice axe whilst on the move. Where we then moved on to looking at the firmness of the snow by digging a small pit to identify layers.
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