Item: The avalanche terrain exposure scale
Title: The avalanche terrain exposure scale
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2006 International Snow Science Workshop, Telluride, Colorado
Authors: Grant Statham, Bruce McMahon, Ian Tomm, Parks Canada Agency (PCA), Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA)
Abstract: Exposure to avalanche terrain is a fundamental concept and an important parameter for winter routefinding decisions in the backcountry. However, education and communication concerning avalanche terrain has been difficult due to the lack of quantitative measurement tools that can be applied in a comprehensive way. In an attempt to fill this void, Parks Canada has developed and implemented the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES), which provides a framework to comprehensively evaluate, describe and communicate the complexities of avalanche terrain exposure. This classification system for avalanche terrain consists of two models – technical and public communication. The technical model is designed for users skilled in the subtle nuances of interpreting avalanche terrain, while the public communication model is designed to easily communicate the same concepts to a less skilled audience. Parks Canada has applied this classification system to 275 backcountry tours and 75 waterfall ice climbs. These represent the most popular trips in the Mountain National Parks. Information is distributed via brochures and the Internet in both French and English. The Canadian Avalanche Association’s Industry Training Program adopted the ATES system in 2005 as a framework for introductory professional avalanche terrain education. A categorical breakdown of avalanche terrain and subsequent classification method has proven a valuable tool in teaching avalanche terrain fundamentals and basic route finding to this audience.
Keywords: avalanche terrain, terrain classification, exposure scale, education
Digital Abstract Not Available