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Weak snow pack prompts weekend avalanche warning

(iStock Photo)

There is a greater risk of a slide once the rain stops and the mountain surface turns to ice

North Shore Rescue encourages everyone heading into the backcountry to be properly equipped

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Backcountry enthusiasts across much of BC are being warned to take extreme caution this weekend. Avalanche Canada has issued a special public warning that begins today and remains in effect until Monday.

The warning applies to the northwest coast and South Coast inland, as well as to the Cariboo, Columbia and Kootenay-Boundary regions, the Purcell range and the Lizard-Flathead areas.

On the South Coast, we are expecting an end to the rain and some dropping temperatures and that means an even bigger risk of slides.

“Based on the conditions, just be smart about what you’re doing. Once we have that ice crust, it gets very, very dangerous for people travelling in the backcountry and we’ve had a number of fatalities from people who are out there who don’t have crampons,” explains North Shore Team Leader Mike Danks.

You should also make sure to tell someone where you going, bring a cell phone and shovel if you’re planning on heading into the backcountry.

Avalanche experts say a weak layer of snow has been buried under recent heavier snowfalls and the risk is especially pronounced at lower elevations, although hazards also exist at and above the treeline.

“Always choose the appropriate terrain to travel in. Avoid gulleys or drainages as those are terrain traps and then slopes above 25 degrees — you need to be very aware that there is potential for them to slide,” adds Danks.