An Extended Column compression Test of the snowpack today (see details on here in the YouTube video) by Alain Duclos of Data Avalanche. It shows virtually no weak layers – a good sign for at least the next week or so. The fact that the weakest point is at the interface with the ground suggests, according to recent research, that we could see significant ‘glide crack’ activity (glide cracks are also known as ´brown frowns’, ‘gueule de baleine’ etc); they are those wide cracks/openings in the snow that go all the way down to the ground.

In any case, this test is one of several examples that demonstrate good stability in the snowpack at the moment in the N French Alps and surrounding areas. So if you are applying basic risk reduction measures as outlined in our checklist framework, you can make your adventure off-piste or touring a successful and safe one with minimum chance of surprises.

I would just point out that even though over 90% of avalanche accidents are triggered by the victims, there is a danger of natural avalanches at the moment caused by instability due to rapid warming of slopes exposed to the relatively high temps today and over the next few days. So hanging out under steep slopes that have been exposed to warming throughout the day is not advised.

Safety is Freedom!