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Thread: Avalanche Books

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lind3n View Post
    Just finished this book. It was pretty good and I would recommend it, but not in the way I expected. It has a wealth of knowledge about snow science and some good information about human factors, but it just glances over terrain issues. My takeaway from the rest of the book was that relying on the snow science is a fool's gamble. In my novice opinion terrain choices are the #1 most important and only reliable way of avoiding an avalanche. The book says as much but it just spends a page or two on slope angle and anchoring, a paragraph on terrain traps, and calls it a day.
    Interesting observation -- thanks for sharing that perspective.
    I haven't read the book front-to-back thoroughly since, hmm, whenever the first edition came out.
    That first reading motivated me in part to take my Level 2, and then also Level 3.
    Tremper made snow science seem so exciting in that first edition!
    But ultimately from a individual decisionmaking perspective, I came to agree with your takeaway.
    And the focus of formal avy instruction has been increasingly on terrain selection (which is why L1 courses out here rarely really get beyond the Awareness-course level) and human factors, especially with an emphasis on tour planning. (The changes over the years in the AIARE field book are a key manifestation of these changes.)

    Quick q though: did you read the new[-ish] 3rd edition of the book that came out in 2018?
    (I haven't had the chance yet to compare it to the first two editions.)
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  2. #27
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    Field Guide to Snow Crystals by E.R. LaChappelle
    The Snowflake by K. Libbrecht

  3. #28
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    I have this old list of additional educational resources:
    https://avycourse.blogspot.com/2010/...resources.html
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    Interesting observation -- thanks for sharing that perspective.
    I haven't read the book front-to-back thoroughly since, hmm, whenever the first edition came out.
    That first reading motivated me in part to take my Level 2, and then also Level 3.
    Tremper made snow science seem so exciting in that first edition!
    But ultimately from a individual decisionmaking perspective, I came to agree with your takeaway.
    And the focus of formal avy instruction has been increasingly on terrain selection (which is why L1 courses out here rarely really get beyond the Awareness-course level) and human factors, especially with an emphasis on tour planning. (The changes over the years in the AIARE field book are a key manifestation of these changes.)

    Quick q though: did you read the new[-ish] 3rd edition of the book that came out in 2018?
    (I haven't had the chance yet to compare it to the first two editions.)
    Oops, I guess I read the 2nd edition. But yeah, it seems to me that snow science and weather-based approaches are valuable and useful for professional avalanche forecasting, but not so much for individuals. As Tremper mentions, if you miss a day or two of monitoring conditions then the snowpack is now an unknown variable. As a layman who is trying to monitor conditions and go up on the weekend, it's just not realistic to be in tune to the degree necessary. The extreme example of the sky clearing up for a matter of hours overnight and surface hoar forming is mentioned in the book. And the more I read, the more the idea of a "representative snow pit" seems like a dangerous myth.

    The snow science is actually very exciting though! I was flirting with a pet project idea of making a neural network-based predictor for snow stability with input from weather stations and ski patrol data. It would be based on a single mountain resort because there seemed to be good access to continuous quality weather data, results from controlled slide action in given runs with well documented aspects and slope angles, etc. Similar to the snow pit, even if it worked pretty well it would a dangerous tool. I still think there's plenty of merit to snow science and that kind of tool would be useful if it had access to enormous amounts of data.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lind3n View Post
    [...]As Tremper mentions, if you miss a day or two of monitoring conditions then the snowpack is now an unknown variable.[...]
    I remember that passage very well!
    I found that statement when I first read it to be both motivating and daunting.
    But after I went through the experience of skiing extensively in three different regions (Mt W, Tahoe, Eastern Sierra) that went from non-traditional avy bulletins to standard (I'll leave out the details unless anyone is curious), I found Tremper's statement kind of odd since a standard avy bulletin should be providing those updates for you.
    (I still experience it in the PNW in late spring and early summer, but pretty simply to monitor conditions for any new snow, which is really all that matters by then.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lind3n View Post
    [...]I was flirting with a pet project idea of making a neural network-based predictor for snow stability with input from weather stations and ski patrol data.[...]
    I've always wondering whether something like that was possible!
    With enough resources, certainly would be, just like meteorological models.
    I mean, an avalanche danger rose should be trivial to general as compared to a NOAA hourly weather graph.
    Even at a more casual level, a simple model would be helpful for a professional avy forecaster to review, call b.s. on some findings, but then think through exactly *why* the model is wrong, exactly *what* factors it is missing, etc.
    Or with the weather, multiple models would be run, then the fx'er would choose the model that seems to provide the best fit for the current patterns.
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  6. #31
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    Wall of White by Jennifer Woodlief, about the 1982 Alpine Meadows avalanche that killed 7 people in a base building and the parking lot. Anna Conrad survived being buried for 5 days in a space under a tipped over locker.

    Buried, by Ken Wylie, about the 2003 Revelstoke avalanche. Wylie was the assistant guide of the group. We lost a good friend in that slide.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    Buried, by Ken Wylie, about the 2003 Revelstoke avalanche. Wylie was the assistant guide of the group. We lost a good friend in that slide.
    There's a woman who lives in Nevada City who was in that group. She's a hospice nurse and took care of my grandpa when he died in 2015. We chatted about it a bit when she was there checking on him. Can't remember the name. Super great woman (as most hospice people are).
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  8. #33
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    i spoke to her ^^ a few years ago. That incident weighs heavy on her. I'm guessing old goat may know her.

    I've talked to two that patrolled alpine meadows on that fateful day. One, who was lead instructor of an avi class that I took, did not want to talk about the alpine meadowd incident. The other will very openly discuss it. The second says that he will never forget the feeling of when a probe gets a positive strike.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using TGR Forums mobile app

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lind3n View Post

    The snow science is actually very exciting though! I was flirting with a pet project idea of making a neural network-based predictor for snow stability with input from weather stations and ski patrol data. It would be based on a single mountain resort because there seemed to be good access to continuous quality weather data, results from controlled slide action in given runs with well documented aspects and slope angles, etc. Similar to the snow pit, even if it worked pretty well it would a dangerous tool. I still think there's plenty of merit to snow science and that kind of tool would be useful if it had access to enormous amounts of data.
    This is similar to work that Laura Maguire is doing on cognitive understanding of snowpack. PM me to contact her, or google her name and those terms.

    Sent from my SM-A600A using Tapatalk

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    i spoke to her ^^ a few years ago. That incident weighs heavy on her. I'm guessing old goat may know her.


    Sent from my SPH-L710 using TGR Forums mobile app
    I'm afraid I don't.

  11. #36
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    Ended up ordering Snow Sense and Avalanche Essentials. Seems like popular choices and a good starting spot. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll keep referring back to this on future reads.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    I've always wondering whether something like that was possible!
    With enough resources, certainly would be, just like meteorological models.
    I mean, an avalanche danger rose should be trivial to general as compared to a NOAA hourly weather graph.
    Even at a more casual level, a simple model would be helpful for a professional avy forecaster to review, call b.s. on some findings, but then think through exactly *why* the model is wrong, exactly *what* factors it is missing, etc.
    Or with the weather, multiple models would be run, then the fx'er would choose the model that seems to provide the best fit for the current patterns.
    This is being worked on: https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-sci...em.php?id=2448
    and https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-sci...em.php?id=2722

  13. #38
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    Different from a book but I'm quietly going to mention the swiss SLF site - https://www.slf.ch/en/avalanche-bulletin-and-snow-situation/about-the-avalanche-bulletin/interpretation-guide.html - which has a wealth of information on avalanches. Some of it not too easy to navigate around and (obvs) sometimes somewhat Swiss focused. I found it more useful after reading the Tremper book though. I'm sure other examples are available.

    I was recommended the Tremper book and read it regularly. As I used to be a geologist there is a lot of cross over in concepts with snow science.

    I think the guys above are right though that without full-on tuition the biggest takeaways are to read and work out how the avalanche forecast applies to your plans and then make sure to keep an eye on terrain above and below you. Can I honestly make an assessment of the stability of a slope? No, If it did slide, could I survive? Yes...

    This gets easier if you live in resort but the next thing is to work out ways of tracking the snowpack when you're doing your day job. I drive transfers so, for example, Is it still icy n the corner that always melts first, am I being blown off the road to the left or the right - how did that translate into the mountains last time? etc.

  14. #39
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    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  15. #40
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    I love this book...doesn't get much better for calling out the Mountain Tribe for all their weird ego bullshit.

    Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose in the Avalanche Patch by Brue Kay

    https://avalanchepatch.com/

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey2012 View Post
    I love this book...doesn't get much better for calling out the Mountain Tribe for all their weird ego bullshit.

    Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose in the Avalanche Patch by Brue Kay

    https://avalanchepatch.com/
    This looks great, and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing
    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    Keystone is the new Snowbird

  17. #42
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    Please don't forget about our erstwhile journal The Avalanche Review. Click image for larger version. 

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    https://www.americanavalancheassociation.org/tar

  18. #43
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    ^^^ Some of the best current affairs on the subject available.
    Ooof!

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