Item: Avalanche hazard and visitor numbers- a study in lochaber, scotland
Title: Avalanche hazard and visitor numbers- a study in lochaber, scotland
Proceedings: International Snow Science Workshop, Davos 2009, Proceedings
Authors: Grahma Moss, sportScotland Avalanche Information Service
Abstract: Avalanche hazard in Scotland is characterized by rapidly changing weather, rugged topography and a snowpack shaped above all by wind. Avalanche forecasts are prepared in five popular winter mountaineering areas, primarily for those undertaking winter mountaineering, ice and mixed climbing. In this paper we present results of a study into numbers accessing mountains in the Lochaber are of Scotland. Visitor counts are available for two contrasting mountains, Ben Nevis characterized by a wide variety of winter mountaineering and accessed on a foot in 2-3 hours, and Aonach Mor, where climbing is primarily on a single set of cliffs of similar aspect and altitude, typically accessed by a combination of gondola and chair lift. Weather data were recorded on an ordinal scale, characterizing conditions in terms of "visitor enjoyment" ranging from days with blue skies, through increasing precipitation and winds, to those on which the gondola could not operate. These data were then compared with avalanche hazard over a number of winters. Initial analysis revealed that average visitor numbers to both venues decrease as avalanche hazard increases and weather deteriorates. To control for the effects of weather, we explored average visitor numbers on only days with good weather. Again a decrease in average visitor numbers were observed, suggesting that avalanche hazard (and thus potentially the avalanche forecast) influences behavior. However, by separating days into weekdays and weekends, it appears that this influences is less on weekend visitors (commonly considered to be under more pressure to achieve objectives on short visits).
Keywords: avalanche forecast, decision making process, scotland, mountain visitor numbers
Digital Abstract Not Available