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View Full Version : Avalanche Country!


Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:29 PM
There are many places in North America that have to deal with the threat of snowslides & avalanches, and even though this is a below-average snowfall winter for this area of Alaska, we still get enough snow that avalanches are always a potential danger, and happen around here every winter. I'll post a few pics of the country & conditions just south of where I live. Here a small avalanche came down just across the river from a warning sign...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Another area of steep mountains with constant snowslides that come down each winter... most of these never make it to the highway,...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:33 PM
The problems begin as you get higher into the mountains & have to drive right next to the steep slopes...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:36 PM
Here a small snow slide made it to the highway several weeks ago... the road was closed for about ½ day as DOT crews worked with loaders to open it back up,...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:39 PM
Snow poles are used along the highways in the high country where blizzards & white-outs make it hard to see where the road is not only for traveling, but also for the DOT plows trying to keep it open...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:43 PM
Poles are placed so the horizontal end lines up vertically with the edge of the pavement, and spaced so that hopefully even during the worst white-out conditions, a plow driver can see the next pole before he gets off-track from the previous one,... & all have reflective tape on them...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:47 PM
The borders of avalanche areas can usually be determined by the tree edges, but on some occasions, avalanches come down into new areas or during extremely heavy snow years, will flood out much farther than normal & shave off every tree in it's path. I've seen avalanches that have taken out trees over 2 feet in diameter, that were probably several hundred years old & snapped them off like toothpicks,..

Mark Oomkes
02-22-2006, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the pics. Beautiful country. Those poles are a neat idea. How well do they work?

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:50 PM
Steep mountainsides, wind, heavy snowfall, temperature inversions all play a part in avalanche potential,...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the pics. Beautiful country. Those poles are a neat idea. How well do they work?


They work great til some DOT guy isn't paying attention & takes it out.. lol,... but in reality, they have to have them... or the roads would close down & stay closed til the plow trucks could see well enough to determine where the road is after a snow or blow...

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:54 PM
One thing about deep snow country is when the banks get high enough... you couldn't run off the road if you tried... :D

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 02:57 PM
As beautiful as this area of south-central Alaska is, it's also one of the heaviest snowfall areas of the continent,... having recorded annual snowfalls of over 1000",.. just under 100' !! :eek:

Vaughn Schultz
02-22-2006, 03:22 PM
Unreall :D Thanks

rfed32
02-22-2006, 03:36 PM
thats awesome....prob some good snowboarding out there....they are perrrrrT pics man

QMVA
02-22-2006, 03:54 PM
ROFL thats to funny. The first pic shows a sign saying do not stop and the rest are of your car stopped in the area:jester: That does look like some sick area to snowboard in. Just make sure you have someone there to dig you out:D

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 04:48 PM
ROFL thats to funny. The first pic shows a sign saying do not stop and the rest are of your car stopped in the area:jester: That does look like some sick area to snowboard in. Just make sure you have someone there to dig you out:D

LOL,... yeah I know,... I knew someone would point that out,.. I even thought about it as I took the picture, but reality is, there was almost no chance of an avalanche starting on that day, being calm & cold,... they almost always are "triggered" by something or someone. DOT here has special platforms installed in high-risk areas along the highway,with special "cannons", where they actually use explosive-tipped artillary shells & they "shoot" the avalanches down during periods of "high-risk", & bring the avalanches down in a somewhat controlled manner before they get too big & pose a serious threat to motorists. But,.. I always carry a shovel with me too,... :D :D

Alaskanredneck
02-22-2006, 04:52 PM
those pics look like Tompson pass, going for the location in your profile you are about 50 miles south of me, if you get to the other side of the pass on a nice saturday you could probably get some pics of the snow boarders comming down and hitchhiking back up to go again

Alaska Boss
02-22-2006, 05:01 PM
those pics look like Tompson pass, going for the location in your profile you are about 50 miles south of me, if you get to the other side of the pass on a nice saturday you could probably get some pics of the snow boarders comming down and hitchhiking back up to go again

Yep, that's where it is... & you're right,... it doesn't even have to be a Saturday,.. at this time of year, on days like that, there are snowmachiners, skiiers, snowboarders all over the place!! People will take off work just to play in the mountains on days like this !! :waving:

Alaska Boss
02-24-2006, 03:03 PM
A bicycle rides past a rather large late-winter avalanche that didn't make it to the highway,... this is south of Anchorage, Alaska, from several years ago.

Fordistough
02-25-2006, 10:19 AM
When did you take these picures, winter? I thought when it was winter in Alaska, it was dark 24/7 am I wrong?

-Thann

ksland
02-25-2006, 10:34 AM
Those are some really cool pics, thanks for sharing

They would make great desktop backgrounds. Do you happen to have higher resolution versions you could email me?

Alaska Boss
02-25-2006, 11:18 AM
When did you take these picures, winter? I thought when it was winter in Alaska, it was dark 24/7 am I wrong?

-Thann
I took these pictures a few days ago, except the last one, which is from last year, I believe. It's not dark in Alaska 24/7 in the "winter", the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is Dec 21,(winter solstice) & the point of latitude where the sun does not rise on this day is called the "Arctic Circle" (which is about 400+ miles north of where I live). On that day, the sun does not rise above the horizon, it get's "light", but only as light as it is just before dawn, same as by you, but then starts to get dark again. Then, the farther north you go from the Arctic Circle, the more days you have where the sun doesn't rise. In Barrow Alaska, the farthest north town in Alaska, the sun sets in late November, & doesn't rise again til the very end of January, so there it is dark 24/7 for a good portion of that time. But then in the summer, the opposite is true, the sun rises in May, & doesn't set until August, so you have both extremes. Where I live, we have about 4-5 hours of daylight around Christmas. Then on March 21 & Sept 21, there is 12/12 everywhere on earth (equinox). Hope that wasn't too confusing... :dizzy: :waving:

Antnee77
02-26-2006, 09:27 AM
Those are some amazing pics, thanks! :salute:

S AND A LAND
02-26-2006, 06:23 PM
If you have any more put them on my kids love looking at this...this is some place we will never go....thanks:waving: :waving:

Alaska Boss
02-26-2006, 11:10 PM
If you have any more put them on my kids love looking at this...this is some place we will never go....thanks:waving: :waving:

I have a ton more pictures, but I don't want to bore anyone, or keep posting the same things... but I can show a few more.... another shot of some deep snow country,.. my Boss V-blade is not quite big enough for this area,...

Alaska Boss
02-26-2006, 11:16 PM
I rode my snowmachine right to the peak of a mountain behind my house,... this is what this country looks like buried in snow....

I think I'll start a new thread on glaciers.... we have alot of them in this country,... & they have a definte effect on winter weather too... stay tuned,....

Mark Oomkes
02-27-2006, 01:57 PM
I have a ton more pictures, but I don't want to bore anyone, or keep posting the same things

Fat chance. At least for me. Keep up the posting, those are absolutely beautiful.

mmwb
02-27-2006, 05:08 PM
Beautiful country. We seldom get avalanches on the road around here. Now if we could keep the snowmobilers off those steep slopes we'd have alot less funerals every winter and spring. Our poles stand about 12'. Straight and florescent orange. I really take my hat off to the guys plowing on the highways in the high country.

S AND A LAND
02-27-2006, 05:34 PM
tHANKS AGAIN....:waving:

PremierLand
02-28-2006, 04:52 PM
I dont think your boring anyone. Those pic's are amazing. I am deffenitaly going there someday.

All_Clear
02-28-2006, 07:09 PM
Awesome pictures!!!

I'm mad tho, QMVA beat me to it... I saw that first picture and cracked up...

Thats on of those pictures you'd see Jay Leno have on headlines lol

All_Clear

bluenite608
03-01-2006, 08:02 AM
great pics!!!! beautiful country!!!!

Alaska Boss
03-13-2006, 04:31 AM
just thought I'd post a couple more pictures of fresh avalanches close to where I live, that came down in the past few days,...

Alaska Boss
03-13-2006, 04:35 AM
In the worst areas, you'll have several avalanches that come down, one after the next coming down on top of each other,... snowmachine riders, skiers, etc have to avoid these areas at all times,...

Alaska Boss
03-13-2006, 04:37 AM
this one wasn't very big, but came pretty close to the road,...

Alaska Boss
03-13-2006, 04:40 AM
Another place where the highway runs along side a small river, & on the other side of the river... a new avalanche... :waving:

parrothead
03-13-2006, 05:04 AM
keep posting those pics, we dont see that in illinois.

Yaz
03-13-2006, 09:04 AM
great pics.. just amazing..

Thanks

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:33 PM
Well,.. with winter coming to an end, even in Alaska, I thought I'd post a few more pictures of some avalanches that I took in the last week or two. Even though I plowed a lot yesterday yet, I think it's about done for the year. This is just south of where I live,... :waving:

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:35 PM
Zoomed in on the same snow slide...

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:38 PM
Here's a small avalanche that came right up next to the highway just south of Anchorage.... Railroad tracks run right next to the highway, & the train plow had to carve right thru it,...

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:41 PM
Looking right up the mountain valley where the avalanche came from... (not a good camping spot,... :D )

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:46 PM
Almost all snow slides & avalanches have trees, brush & other debris buried all thru it, as it carries everything in it's path down the moutain,....

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:50 PM
Another, larger avalanche came down the mountain, farther from the road, but the train still had to go thru it...

Alaska Boss
04-12-2006, 03:58 PM
close up showing how much snow had to be plowed off the tracks,.... & this snow sets up hard as a rock in very short order too... that's it for now,.. hope everyone has a great summer,... :waving: :waving:

Dodgetruckman731
07-10-2006, 04:04 PM
those pics are really somthing

Alaska Boss
09-13-2006, 12:28 PM
Well,... summer is about over here,... it's 22° outside right now & the sun is shining, but my lawn is still white from the heavy frost that hasn't melted yet. I thought I'd post a couple shots of several avalanches that I took this summer,... I believe I took these on or very close to the 4th of July,... just to show that even that far into summer, they haven't all melted yet. This first one is from the same location as post #7 in this thread,.. just so you can see the difference,... :waving:

Alaska Boss
09-13-2006, 12:32 PM
And this picture is from the same location as posts #39 & 40 of this thread,... also taken on or close to the 4th of July,... :waving:

2003Ranger
09-13-2006, 08:57 PM
Those are some really cool looking pictures, can only imagine scenery like that

RolyF
10-01-2006, 08:24 PM
Don't go to Alaska, it'll ruin your perspective forever!
Unfortunately I recently spent a vacation there. I went after trout and fished a small corner of the Susitna and whacked 3 to 4 pound Rainbows until my arms ached. I now call the trout I used to catch "bait". I toured a National Park larger than several New England States put together. I flew between mountains in the Alaska Range that our sightseeing plane couldn't get over. I saw the route most climbers take to the summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley), the tallest peak in North America. I saw active volcanos steaming away, I saw Bald Eagles in their nests, in flight, and snatching salmon from a lake. I ate King Crab legs that were about 2 feet long and packed more meat each than a 2 pound lobster. I drank Kodiak Brown Ale until the brewery went on overtime. I saw whales by the tons and seals and otters and mountain sheep and glaciers and fjords and almost got terminal sensory overload. And I was only there a week, I hate Alaska. Don't go.:)

Pat M
10-01-2006, 09:42 PM
My wife and I have such great memories of Alaska. Not just because we spent 7 days there for our honeymoon but because it is the best part of the country that we have ever visited. Be sure to get those pictures coming again once the snow starts to fall. We are already planning our visit back to Alaska but hope to go much further north this time.

SnowPro93
10-26-2006, 01:55 PM
i'm going to retire to alaska...in like 47 years...haha

04superduty
10-28-2006, 07:44 AM
i'm going to retire to alaska...in like 47 years...haha
lol, now thats funny. :nod:

ALarsh
10-29-2006, 11:42 AM
I would love to take a sled and just tear it up. Deep snow fun. purplebou

Rcgm
10-29-2006, 07:43 PM
I think that guy in that little green car is following you.:D

RCGM
Brad

MaineMike
11-06-2006, 12:10 AM
Thanks for the avalanche photos, Alaska Boss.

I live in Maine, about as far Northeast of the Northwest as you can get, but I actually grew up in Alaska (Fairbanks). I still have family in the Last Frontier and I visit when I can.

During my freshman year of high school, I lived in the coastal town of Seward. This would have been 1981/82.

Your avalanche photos reminded me of the time my parents and I tried to drive to Anchorage one winter night around Christmas, and we were turned back due to an avalanche near Moose Pass which had completely covered the highway. Fortunately no vehicles were passing by at the time, because it was a wall of snow.

We had to go back to Seward and wait a few days before we could attempt the trip again. And on the second attempt, there was no avalanche, but one of the the chains on our tires kept coming loose and it would slap against the wheelwell of our car, driving my father to fits of pure madness. It was the trip from hell, but somehow we got there.....eventually.

Those weren't the days.

Anyway, nice photos!

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:13 AM
Well, since I've been on a few snowmachine trips in the past couple weeks, & took a few more photos of snow slides & avalanches, I thought I'd bring this older thread back & add to it, rather than start another one about the same stuff,... plus there are probably enough newer guys on here now that maybe haven't seen these, that might need to cool off later when they're mowin' grass when it's 97° in the shade,.... so here's a few more pics of the kind of country I live in,.... and what happens every year when too much snow is hanging on the sides of steep mountains,.... so enjoy! :waving:



This is along one of the main rivers in south-central Alaska,... deep snow with very steep mountains that come right down to the edge of the water,....

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:15 AM
Very beautiful, but also can be very dangerous at certain times as well,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:18 AM
New avalanches can come down almost anywhere if the mountains are steep enough & the snow deep enough,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:21 AM
This year, since we really didn't have all that much snow,... many of the snow slides came down in slow motion,.. which doesn't do nearly the damage,.. or spread the snow out nearly as far,.. but still,.. there always seems to be a few trees that get torn out when they come down,....

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:22 AM
This one didn't quite make it to the river,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:24 AM
Some aren't very big,... but could still bury you if they hit you,......

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:27 AM
Many of these are triggered by warm weather,.. when the snow gets heavy & wet,... so they tend to come down slowly like lava,... and ball up at the bottom...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:30 AM
Another small one that didn't quite make it to the bottom,... I bet them trees were sweatin' for a few minutes tho,... :D

DeVries
04-04-2008, 06:31 AM
Nice pics there boss. I see you guy's have snow still. I think the sleds have been put away here for three weeks or so now. Hope you had a good winter.

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:32 AM
Dry, fluffy snow slides would just feather out to almost flat,.. not stack up like this,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:33 AM
A somewhat bigger one,.. but still in slower motion...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:36 AM
If this avalanche had come down with any speed or power at all.... that tree in the middle would be splintered tooth-picks right now,....

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:38 AM
Every gulley had snow that came down it seemed...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:40 AM
Some were so small, I could move them with my plow truck I think ! (ok, maybe not)

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:41 AM
Some came down & broke open the water where they stopped

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:43 AM
White, cold, lava streams,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:45 AM
Some were much bigger & buried all the brush,...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:48 AM
Another case, where any speed or power would have shaved these trees off

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:51 AM
a couple more...

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 06:59 AM
And last but not least,... even coming around a bend on the highway can lead to some tense moments,.... as I met an 18-wheeler right at the same time that I encountered a small snowslide blocking my lane off,... I was just barely able to stop before plowing into it with my car,.... :eek::waving:

Bibbo
04-04-2008, 10:00 AM
nice pictures! i want to go to alaska in a few years..prsport.. if ya got more pics keep posting em :D there great to look at while im sittin here in school lol :jester: does most of it melt in spring/summer? have any pics of wildlife? thanks, stay safe up there

Alaska Boss
04-04-2008, 12:33 PM
nice pictures! i want to go to alaska in a few years..prsport.. if ya got more pics keep posting em :D there great to look at while im sittin here in school lol :jester: does most of it melt in spring/summer? have any pics of wildlife? thanks, stay safe up there


Yep,... it's all gone before next winter, except right at the tops of the mountains. In certain places, where snow doesn't all melt away each year, a small glacier will eventually form,.. we have those all over around here too. I have tons of wildlife pictures, but it's kinda off-topic I suppose, but thanks for looking!:salute:

Mark Oomkes
04-04-2008, 03:17 PM
I have tons of wildlife pictures, but it's kinda off-topic I suppose, but thanks for looking!:salute:

There is an off-topic forum.

Hint, hint :D

Bibbo
04-04-2008, 03:28 PM
There is an off-topic forum.

Hint, hint :D

hint hint here as well:D

billet-boy
04-06-2008, 10:44 AM
Amazing pictures they make me want to pack up the wife and kids and move North

iceyman
04-06-2008, 11:08 AM
i anybody have a helicopter to drop me right in the middle of those peaks on page 2 .....sick nasty:nod::drinkup:

SnoFarmer
04-06-2008, 11:13 AM
http://www.valdezhelicamps.com/

Ask for Doug Lewis to be your guide.
Tell him that I sent you....;)

Alaska Boss
04-14-2008, 11:14 PM
http://www.valdezhelicamps.com/

Ask for Doug Lewis to be your guide.
Tell him that I sent you....;)

We just had a local guy from Valdez killed here last week while skiing with one of the helicopter companys,... he was one of the best, but he got trapped in an avalanche he himself started,.. and they dug him out later buried under 5 feet of snow,.... These guys are so good,... they have to literally jump off of sheer cliffs and free-fall between rocky outcrops to challenge themselves. To watch them,.. you're amazed that anyone ever lives. When a person gets burried in an avalanche,.. they suffocate almost instantly,... many times snow gets packed rock-tight into every possible opening,... their mouth, their nostrols, their ears, etc. And even the slightest movement is impossible,.. it's like you are encased in instant cement. At least a person won't suffer too long,....