Wet Snow Avalanche Destruction

During the winter in Colorado, a high mountain pass called Independence Pass remains closed for the season because the road weaves through an area with high avalanche potential. But each year in the spring, helicopter-aided avalanche control work is done on the area before it’s opened. Last Monday, May 13, as avalanche control work was being done, YouTube user “tmaspen” filmed the bombs being dropped. The footage is notable because it not only shows how helicopters can help in avalanche control but it also shows how big and destructive a wet avalanche can be:

Wet avalanches, sometimes called wet-snow or wet loose-snow avalanches, occur more frequently in the springtime as temperatures rise rapidly and saturate the winter snowpack with water.

Avalanches can be destructive at any time of the year, but when wet slides occur, they often move slower than their lighter winter counterparts; however, their increased water weight makes them have a high destructive force.

Here’s another example of a wet avalanche and its aftermath; this wet slab avalanche occurred last spring in Bridger Gully as avalanche control work was being done at Bridger Bowl Ski Area:

Want to know more about wet snow avalanches?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“Recognize and Survive Wet Snow Avalanche Conditions”


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