Avalanches can happen wherever there is snow...
The growing popularity of winter climbing and hill-walking, along with the growth of interest in ski touring and off-piste skiing, means that more people than ever are at risk and sadly each year people are injured or die as a result of avalanche in the Scottish mountains.
Many of these accidents would have been avoidable, given greater awareness of the hazards.
Read more here!
Check out these pages to understand more about how avalanches can happen, what you can do to avoid placing yourself on slopes that are at risk, and how to deal with an emergency situation if you do encounter an avalanche. These basic principles will help you with your decision making in the mountains of Scotland in winter.
Check the forecasts
The sportscotland Scottish Avalanche Information Service, publishes a daily forecast of avalanche, snow and climbing conditions for six areas of Scotland each winter. You can now get easy access to these reports, receive important alerts and measure slope angles on your phone with their new app.
Book on a course
Mountaineering Scotland and other training providers offers courses in avalanche awareness every winter. These give you practical advice while on the hill about recognising different snow conditions and slope angles, plus the chance to ask questions of experienced instructors.
Having accepted this, you have greatly reduced your chance of ever being involved in an avalanche. Remember that experience in itself is no antidote to avalanches and that "the avalanche does not know you are an expert!"
This BMC/Association of Mountaineering Instructors video looks at how you can confirm and build on avalanche forecast information while you approach your route.
Winter Skills, Essential Walking & Climbing Techniques - The official handbook of the Mountain Instructor & Winter Mountain Leadership scheme, with an excellent chapter on Avalanche Awareness ISBN 0-9541511-3-5
A Chance in a Million? – Scottish Avalanches by Bob Barton and Blyth Wright 2nd edition published in 2000 and reprinted 2017. Includes some historical misadventures that we can all learn from as well as very sound information about avalanches and how to avoid them.