The Daily Process is a structured approach to backcountry travel, stacking the deck in your favour to staying safe out there. We teach this approach in our Avalanche Canada AST1 course.
GET THE FORECAST – STEP 1 IN PREPARATION FOR A BC TOUR
A structured and systematic approach to the backcountry reduces the risk of human error.
It’s a good idea to start watching the avalanche and weather forecast a few days before your trip to get a sense of how conditions are evolving. Those of us living and working in the snow are constantly keeping up with the current conditions and forecasts.
There are currently no qualified avalanche forecasters working in Australia, and therefore no official avalanche forecast. The backcountry user here has to make their own assessment, so it is up to you to find other resources which can help you put together a picture of the current hazards in the Australian backcountry. Resources available in Australia include Mountain Sports Collective (MSC) reports, Bill Barker’s Backcountry Report on the Hotham website and conditions reported on social media sites by other bc users, eg. Australian Backcountry Facebook group. Alpine Access will post relevant information through the season on our social media sites as it comes to hand.
MSC offers a report based on observations from their experienced team, which details snowpack, snow surface and weather conditions. They will also have a portal on their website this season where the public can submit their observations. For weather forecasts, the Bureau of Meterology has detailed alpine forecasts, and check out their MetEye page. Windy.com is also a good weather resource.
It takes time to be able to put all the bits of the puzzle together. Wind, precipitation, temperature, visibility, and snowpack stability are all important considerations when determining conditions and hazards and the difference between a good and a crap day.
If you are unsure about how to apply this gathered information to make good choices, including whether to go or not, where to go and when, you should consider doing an Avalanche Skills Training (AST1) course. The AST1 provides training on how weather affects the snowpack and how to select your route when considering the conditions and forecasts.
Know before you go!