Sunday, April 29, 2007

Series of accidents in the Alps

Series of accidents in the Alps: Despite snow cover resembling the end of May the conditions remain dangerous. The principal risk is from falls on hard snow but a Finnish ski mountaineer was caught by a slab avalanche today while skiing below les Bosses (4513 m) on the north face of Mont-Blanc.

Scary stuff. I had to deal with icy conditions a couple of weeks ago in the Tahoe backcountry. Ski crampons are your friend on the ascent. It is a pain to stop to put them on, and it has to be done on a safe spot because it requires getting out of one's bindings, but it is totally worth the delay, as I've learned the hard way. Small wind slabs can be deceptively easy to miss in spring conditions, too.

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