The idea of an “avalanche rose” has been around for a while, but has been making its way into avalanche forecasts where it is one of my favorite quick-hit summaries of the current avalanche stability. The “rose” part come from the concept of a compass rose (north, south, east & west pointers with sub quads) and the avalanche part comes from, well, avalanches. I like the avalanche rose as it is a very quick, graphical overview. I wouldn’t ski a slope based only on the info gleaned from an avalanche rose diagram, but it would give me a big head-start on where to start looking for trouble or safe skiing for the day.
The avalanche rose is a stylized top view of a mountain which splits the world into aspects and elevations, then assigns an avalanche danger accordingly. It is a rough estimate and not like you can suddenly cross the 10,000′ foot line, or from NW to North and have the danger dissipate, but it gives a good general idea. Much like a traffic light, red means “stop – high danger” (beyond that is extreme/black, which is rare), and green is “go – low danger,” which makes it easy to figure out.
Category: 07 Avalanche Avoidance