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Understanding, Testing and Interpreting Snow Conditions to Make Better Avalanche Predictions (Cicerone Mini-guides)

By Robert Bolognesi

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Format: Paperback / softback, 63 pages
Other Information: colour illustrations
Published In: United Kingdom, 28 June 2007
This practical guide is aimed at walkers, climbers and snowsport enthusiasts who want to acquire or improve their knowledge of snow and avalanche release, and also at snow professionals, guides, mountaineering and snowsport instructors and ski patrollers. It describes the process of formation and evolution of snow and shows practical methods of examining and analysing the snow cover. It throws light on how best to understand the many forms which snow may take, and on how to assess avalanche risk more precisely and reliably...It includes a system of snow observation and a snow crystal card. The instability of the snowpack depends very much on its physical make-up, which unfortunately is quite difficult to understand, the more so as in the mountains it varies perceptibly with both place and time. What is snow? How is it formed? How does it change? Where and when is it dangerous? This book will attempt to provide a few answers to these questions by examining: forms of snow crystals; snow crystal changes on the ground; how these changes affect snow cohesion; how to estimate weakness of the snowpack from: continuous meteorological observation, snow profiles, stability tests; and how the stratigraphy of the snowpack affects its stability.

Table of Contents

Introduction Quick summary Understanding snow How snow is formed How snow changes Observing snow Assessments Measurements Stability tests Interpretation Useful websites Glossary Index

About the Author

Robert Bolognesi, PhD, Polytechnic of Lausanne, is a graduate of the Institute of Alpine Geography, Grenoble, former researcher at the Swiss Federal Snow and Avalanche Research Centre, Davos, avalanche control practitioner and founder of METEORISK, specialising in the amelioration of weather-related risks. Avalanche and Snow were translated by Blyth Wright who has climbed and skied extensively in the UK, the Alps and North America for over 40 years. He was formerly Assistant Director of the International School of Mountaineering in Leysin, Switzerland, then worked for 20 years as an Instructor at Glenmore Lodge National Sports Centre. Since 1989 he has acted as Co-ordinator of what is now the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service. He has represented Scotland and the UK at many international meetings of snow and avalanche experts.


'The majority of mountaineers say they know something of the snow and its lifecycle including its ability to avalanche. However, the majority of us are not snow 'experts', yet we sometimes educate others about snow, its deposition and avalanche possibility. Welcome another helpline in the field of snow science. Two little 'mini-guide' books of knowledge aimed at those who want to know more about Snow and its ability to Avalanche. Originally written by Robert Bolognesi and translated by Blyth Wright. These books include a lifetimes' knowledge, yet are written in a simple, informative way and include numerous clear pictures and diagrams to aid the interpretation of the information included in the text. One of the best features of both of these books is that they come in a neat plastic cover, allowing them to be taken out into the weather whilst being afforded some protection from the elements. They each include a card that can be used practically in the field. Avalanche comes with a NivoTest card designed to help quantify the risks from avalanches. The Snow mini-guide comes with a handy snow crystal card for identifying crystals in the snow layer. The books read through in a methodical manner with chapters including how snow changes, snow measurements and interpretation in Snow and personal accounts, risk assessment and reducing the risk in Avalanche. The outcomes of each book being to suggest rules of thumb for making educated guesses and understanding avalanche phenomenon, whereas Snow details the formation and evolution of snow, and shows practical methods of examining and analysing snow cover. The books would be at home on the bookshelf of the occasional winter mountaineer, skier, snowboarder, as they are with the Winter ML or MIC or guide.' (Dave Brown / AMI news'The small size of this attractive new series launched by Cicerone will make them very suitable for carrying on the hill. All are well illustrated with colour photos, sketches and map, and have solid plastic covers.Snow and Avalanche! follows from the other, and their subtitles adequately describe their contents. The photographs and sketches in both are very clear.Snow has a handy little card to keep in your pocket, with the simple tests set out. Many of the snow tests are simple enough to be carried out by amateur skiers or climbers in a few minutes and well worth the time spent.(Irish Mountain Log / Summer 2007)Check out the reviews on the following websites:

EAN: 9781852844745
ISBN: 1852844744
Publisher: Cicerone Press
Dimensions: 15.93 x 10.59 x 0.58 centimetres (0.03 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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