Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Persistent Weak Layer Remains A Concern For The Backcountry

Persistent Weak Layer Remains A Concern For The Backcountry

Mountain Safety Council (MSC) are reminding people that there’s a potentially dangerous ‘persistent weak layer’ in the snowpack present throughout many areas of the country, in particular Queenstown, Wanaka, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Nelson Lakes and Tongariro, Wanaka, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Nelson Lakes and Tongariro.

This persistent weak layer, first identified several weeks ago, could extend to snowpacks in other regions. The MSC is advising anyone heading into the backcountry to exercise caution.

The nature of the problem lies deeper than the more recent fresh snow and can become reactive under certain conditions. IFMGA guide and co-ordinating forecaster Jamie Robertson said that

“Persistent slabs have the ability to be triggered by smaller avalanches or multiple parties travelling over the same place. The kind of avalanches triggered by persistent slabs can be a lot bigger than expected.”

“This is a complex problem and requires very careful management. We advise people to stick to low-angle terrain or aspects that don’t have persistent layers.”

“It’s imperative that people check all the details of the avalanche advisory, not just the headline danger level. There’s critical information within these forecasts that help to guide people to safe aspects and elevations.”

With relatively good weather predicted for the weekend the avalanche danger characteristics should be a key conversation for any groups that are intent on heading beyond avalanche-controlled areas.

For the month of August, the MSC is aware of more than 35 reported avalanches that have been accidentally triggered by skiers, snowboarders and climbers. Of these, 12 avalanches caught the person and resulted in some degree of burial in the avalanche debris. In all but one case the avalanches occurred on East to South-East facing slopes at 1700m and above.

Robertson said that the recent avalanches are indicative of the kinds of large avalanches possible at the moment.

“The problem relates to more than just the new snow so management is more about avoiding the slopes that might have the persistent layers, you can’t trick the snowpack.”

“You need to know the full details of the forecast and make conservative travel decisions while you’re out there.”

However, the council are keen to point out that this doesn’t mean other aspects or elevations are automatically safe. The advice from the Mountain Safety Council is to follow the guidance in the NZAA forecasts and to read them thoroughly.

More information is available at avalanche.net.nz or at the mountain safety council’sFacebook page dedicated to the snow and alpine community.



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Our Unreal Optimism About The Economic Impact Of Coronavirus

At this week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, PM Jacinda Ardern was resolutely upbeat that business with China would soon bounce back to normal – better than ever, even - once the coronavirus epidemic has been brought under control. To Ardern, the adversity has only accentuated just how close we are to Beijing Nothing wrong with being upbeat, if it can calm the nerves and turn business sentiment into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The problems begin when the optimism detaches itself from reality. What has been very odd so far about the coronavirus episode is that global share markets – normally spooked by mere sneezes or sniffles in the world’s major economies - have continued to be fairly positive, even as the epidemic has unfolded... More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals
Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. More>>


UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>


2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>


Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>


Auditor-General's Report : Water Management

The Auditor-General’s report Reflecting on our work about water management was presented to the House of Representatives today. Over the last two years we have been looking at how well public organisations are carrying out their water management ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels