If you see an avalanche coming – don’t panic!  You will only have seconds to react, so keep focused. You should first shout to the other members of your group. This will both alert them of an avalanche and identify your position. Ditch any equipment that might weigh you down. Turn away from the avalanche and keep your back uphill.

When the Avalanche Hits

Cover your mouth and nose, keeping excess snow from entering. Make swimming motions and try to stay on top. When possible, work your way to the side of the avalanche where the snow will be moving slower. Grab onto a tree, bush or large rock and hang on as long as you can.

When the Avalanche Stops

Cup your hands over your face allowing several inches of air space between your hands and face. This will sustain you for 25-30 minutes. Do not try to dig your way out unless you can detect light in the snow above you. If you can see light, attempt to force your hand through the snow. If you cannot reach outside air, an arm’s length, then do not attempt to dig out, it will waste precious air and energy with no benefit.


Do not panic, you need to preserve oxygen. All companions that were not buried will be trying to locate you. This is particularly true if they are trained in avalanche safety and carry all the appropriate rescue equipment such as; an avalanche cord, shovel, probe, and beacon.

If you are searching for companions caught in the avalanche, go immediately to the locations they were last seen, and search downhill from there.



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