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Avalanche danger considerable to high

Posted: Monday, Feb 24th, 2014

PINEDALE – Present avalanche danger is not to be taken lightly. As it currently stands, avalanche danger is high in the Tetons, especially above 9,000 feet. Additionally, Togwotee Pass, as well as the Gray’s River region are rated at considerable avalanche danger.

Last Tuesday, the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) experienced two large avalanches. On Togwotee Pass, a snowmachiner died after he got his sled stuck on a slope. One of his friends went to help him, but the weight of the additional person caused the snow pack to fracture and a slide to occur.

Also on Tuesday, a historically large avalanche occurred on Coal Mine Mountain in the Wyoming Range just outside of Big Piney. The slide was naturally triggered and took down several large trees. Nobody was injured.

Mike Rheam, avalanche forecaster for the BTNF Avalanche Center, explained a considerable danger rating could be worse for sportsmen than a high danger rating.

“At high danger, we believe that natural avalanches will be happening without human presence. Naturals are likely,” Rheam said. “At considerable, we are saying naturals could possibly happen and human triggered avalanches are likely. It’s almost a more dangerous time when it is considerable because people are more easily fooled out onto the slopes.”

For the complete article see the 02-25-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-25-2014 paper.

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