Even though its early in the season – you need to be aware of avalanche conditions on the North Shore.
If you are recreating on the North Shore, plan to go outside of marked trails, or head into the back country – you need to be aware of the avalanche conditions and be prepared and trained accordingly.
If are thinking about ducking the ropes for powder – which we do not recommend, you need to be prepared for back-country conditions and realize – you are now in charge of your own safety, and need to be prepared accordingly. As soon as you go out of bounds, you could be caught in an avalanche and perish – which has unfortunately happened many times on the North Shore.
Also be aware most gullys on the North Shore start out looking great, but end in giant waterfalls and cliffs. There is a reason they have names like Suicide Gully, and others are named after people who had died in them.
1. Make sure you check the avalanche bulletin (right now conditions are high risk)- http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/north-shore. You can sign up for email alerts as well, or download the iPhone app.
2. Everyone in your party must be carrying a beacon, probe and shovel
3. Everyone in your party must be trained in using this equipment – and practice using it before heading into the backcountry
4. You should have a least one person who has taken an advanced avalanche course – everyone should have taken some kind of avi course if you are heading out
5. Do your own tests – ie. dig a pit, or complete shovel tests. If you don’t know what these are you shouldn’t be going out there.
6. Choose your route according to safety and avi conditions. Ie. If you pick a highly exposed route today, you will probably die because conditions are rated high.
7. And of course the usual common sense things (at least what we think is common sense :-)) – tell someone exactly where you are going, return time, make sure you have the proper winter clothing, flashlight, and survival gear.
Have fun and be safe!