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Avalanche Awareness

Stick to ridge tops and valley bottoms

(HealthDayNews) -- If you're a mountain climber or skier, there are steps you can take to avoid being caught in an avalanche.

It's best to bypass high-risk slopes and stick to ridge tops or valley bottoms when crossing from one hill to another, advises the United States Forest Service.

But if you must cross a dangerous slope:

  • Cross one person at a time.
  • Carry a basic survival kit on your person, not in your pack.
  • Trail an avalanche cord or carry an activated avalanche beacon when crossing, and learn how to use it in a practice situation.
  • Zip up all layers of insulated clothing and put on your hat and gloves.
  • Cover your mouth and nostrils with a parka flap or handkerchief.
  • Undo your pack hip belt and loosen any other equipment. This will allow you to discard anything that might restrict your efforts to stay on top of a slide.
Consumer News