What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or rider in the Gulmarg backcountry? Read more here.
Observations in Hapat Khued and North Apharwat Bowl in recent days revealed general stability in the top 100cms of the Gulmarg snowpack. A graupel layer from the last storm is producing ~clean shears 38 cms down, and the ability to initiate yet not propagate a slab avalanche. Thin reactive Wind slabs persist above 3900 meters beneath ridge tops in isolated areas. Routes with terrain traps (rocks, cliffs) beneath should be avoided. The danger of these avalanches isn’t their size, but if you were caught in one and carried into/over rocks. Depth hoar persists at the bottom of the snowpack, along with the crust layer mid-pack. These two layers aren’t currently an issue, but will be with the coming storm this weekend. Wet loose avalanches can be triggered today on very steep sunny aspects, once again with the size not being the danger, but the terrain you could be carried over. Choose terrain wisely today.
Height of snow in Hapat Khued bowl mid-slope was 330 cms yesterday.
Avalanche danger below 3000 meters is Low (1). Natural and human-triggered avalanches are unlikely.
Choose to ride in groups in the forests of Gulmarg. http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/. We now have enough snow in the conifer forests above 3200 meters for skiers and riders to get trapped in tree wells. Read more about this phenomenon in the link above. It causes several fatalities each year in other ski regions of the globe.
Avalanche Problem #1 – Wind Slab
Problem Description – Release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
Wind Slabs form in specific areas, and are confined to lee and cross-loaded terrain features. They can be avoided by sticking to sheltered or wind-scoured areas.
Avalanche Problem #2 – Wet Loose
Problem Description – Release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. They generally move slowly, but can contain enough mass to cause significant damage to trees, cars or buildings. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
Travel when the snow surface is colder and stronger. Plan your trips to avoid crossing on or under very steep slopes in the afternoon. Move to colder, shadier slopes once the snow surface turns slushly. Avoid steep, sunlit slopes above terrain traps, cliffs areas and long sustained steep pitches.
Weather Forecast (link:http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Gulmarg/6day/mid)