Snowmelt, the underestimated danger on the mountain.André Schmitt
As an avid mountain hiker, I know that the mountains can present some hazards during the melting season when winter turns to spring. The avalanche danger is particularly high during this time and it is important to be aware of this and take appropriate measures to stay safe.
Avalanches can be one of the biggest hazards in the mountains, especially during the melting season when the snow becomes unstable. An avalanche can be very fast and unpredictable and even experienced climbers can become victims of an avalanche. It is important to observe avalanche warnings and act accordingly. Some measures to minimize the risk of an avalanche are:
- Find out about avalanche danger: Before I go on a tour in the mountains, I always check the latest avalanche warnings and pay attention to behavioral tips.
- Avoid steep slopes: Avalanches are most easily triggered on steep slopes. So when I plan a route, I avoid steep slopes in the melting season and choose routes with flatter sections instead.
- Use avalanche beacons: In the event of an accident, an avalanche beacon can help alert mountain rescue quickly and facilitate the search for missing persons.
- Take avalanche equipment with you: Avalanche equipment, such as an avalanche probe and an avalanche shovel, can save lives. I make sure that I always have such equipment with me when I’m out in the mountains.
- Do not travel alone: In the melting season it is safer to travel in a group. I never go to the mountains alone, but always with other experienced climbers.
The melting season presents some challenges for climbers, but with the right preparation and measures we can minimize the risk and be safe in the mountains.
Sources and links:
- German Alpine Club: Avalanches: https://www.alpenverein.de/bergsport/sicherheit/lawinen_aid_25312.html
- Bavarian Avalanche Warning Service: https://www.lawinenwarndienst-bayern.de/
- Avalanche situation report of the Austrian Alpine Club: https://www.alpenverein.at/portal/berg-aktiv/sicher-am-berg/lawinen/lawinenlagebericht.php
- Swiss Institute for Avalanche Research: https://www.slf.ch/de/00-homepage.html
- Mountain Rescue Austria: https://www.bergrettung.at/