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Camp Avi advise
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Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Camp Avi advise on 04/28/2013 20:52:20 MDT Print View

Our Japan Alps experienced a late season blizzard with ~1m dump Fri-Sat. Already 5 deaths have been reported, 3 due avalanche.

Below are pics taken today of the Tateyama designated camping area @ ~2300m with ~100 tents set up since this is Japan's Golden Week holiday and access is quite easy with bus service up to 2400m plateau with several full service hotels/lodges for tourists.

The snow pack is up to 18m deep in this area so is popular for late season mountaineering, snowshoeing, free skiing and snowboarding. The camp office which is in the foreground of the first pic is completely buried. In late Summer there is a fast flowing river between the tents and mountain slope. The ridgeline in the background is ~3000m.

My question for experienced mountaineers is does this area look safe from avalanche given the recent blizzard?

Tateyama Camp

Camp office

Tateyama Camp Office

Ski line

Tateyama Ski2

Ski line close up

Tateyama Ski

Edited by rmjapan on 04/28/2013 21:09:27 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Camp Avi advise on 04/28/2013 21:04:25 MDT Print View

"My question for experienced mountaineers is does this area look safe from avalanche given the recent blizzard?"

Without knowing the angle of the slope, it is impossible to predict anything. Then you need to study the snow layers to determine if there is a weak layer that will contribute to a fracture.


Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Camp Avi advise on 04/28/2013 21:43:48 MDT Print View

Bob, that's a good point. Unfortunately, there is no centralized avi warning services in Japan despite it being the most avi prone country in the world and the "Nanny state" mentality of its government. Pretty much like "caveat emptor" when it comes to this. Other than shovels, avi gear seems non-existent at most outdoor stores. Most of the avi education/training here seems to be conducted by non-Japanese.

I can say temps for the area at 2400m are ~-10C to 5C and winds were clocked at 85kph during the Sat. blizzard.

Edited by rmjapan on 04/28/2013 21:53:10 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Camp Avi advise on 05/01/2013 16:10:10 MDT Print View

The "free flowing river" valley shown in the third photo may be deep enough to deflect most, or typical avalanches, but possibly not enough to deflect a very large avalanche.

Most avalanche forecasts are based on familiarity with past event history, visual reads of the terrain, and snowpack analysis. The likely runout limits of an avalanche is usually a guess.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
VARIABLES on 05/16/2013 22:57:59 MDT Print View

1st take a good avy course
2nd read several good avy books.

Then consider the variables:

1. slope angle
2. slope aspect (N, E, S or W?)
3. snowpack profile (Dig several snow pits)
4. avy history in that area
5. ground "anchors" like boulders & trees
6. most recent snowfall depth and type of snow