- Paperback: 271 pages
- Publisher: Mountaineers Books; 2nd edition (September 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898863643
- ISBN-13: 978-0898863642
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,727,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Avalanche Handbook 2nd Edition
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Don't think it couldn't happen to you. Skiers, snowboarders, climbers, and anyone else who travels in the mountains should be aware of the awesome destructive power of avalanches and the conditions that cause them. The Handbook is a comprehensive guide to avoiding such a calamity of snow and ice--and how to improve your chances of survival if you're caught in one. With a combination of science and practical advice, the authors explain how avalanches happen, how to test a slope for slide potential, and how to navigate in avalanche-prone areas. This is essential material for winter recreation fans and outdoors enthusiasts.
The Avalanche Handbook is the uber text in the field of avalanche science. -- Outside Bozeman
Top customer reviews
We get bits and pieces of the science behind avalanches but at a very superficial level. You learn something about the sorts of things scientists think about avalanches without learning the why and wherefore of it. The authors' reluctance to inlude anything that even smells of math turns the science sections into collections of things one might say about avalanche science at a dinner party, but otherwise not very useful when it comes to applying the science to avalanches.
When it comes time for the book to lay out a paradigm for making decisions in avalanche country, we find a confusing mess of very abstract decision schema. Nowhere do we find any specific guidance in using instability tests or snowpack profiles in making decisions. This lack of guidance is exacerbated by the skeptical stance the book takes towards stability tests. We are counseled to pay attention to local conditions, but we are also told that if our tests show a stable snowpack they should be discounted. It's not clear how stability tests could ever yield anything other than a no-go decision given that sort of paradigm, and the book needs to do more to explain how to navigate the grey zone if it to be useful as a handbook for making decisions.
So while this is an indispensable book, it could really use more work, and anyone wanting to understand the contents should probably be ready to dig into the nuts and bolts of the underlying science a bit more using other resources.
I believe that for most recreational readers this book does at times get "heavy". Its easy to lose interest in this book from time to time as the science overcomes the practical. If you are a weekend backcountry traveler and are looking for a book that will keep your attention and teach you how to travel safely in Avy terrain this book is probably a little much. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper is a much easier read and has all the most important information from this book. Combined with Snow Sense by Doug Fesler the two books are much more digestible for the average reader and a lot more fun as well.