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  The Outdoor Safety Code

Plan Your Trip

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Be Aware Of The Weather

Know Your Limits

Take Sufficient Supplies

Avalanche Facts


48% of climbing related avalanche incidents occurred in Summer during Dec-Jan.

Terrain was a critical factor in 50% of fatal avalanche incidents –steep, rugged, bluffs, crevasses.


Safety Tips – Avalanche Awareness


Backcountry terrain is neither patrolled nor controlled by professionals, so if you're planning on going 'out back' or 'off the edge', it’s important to be well trained in avalanche safety and search and rescue techniques.

In short, know before you go!



The Backcountry Checklist

Must Do – before you leave home:

  • Follow the Outdoor Safety Code.
  • Attend an avalanche awareness course. Check out MSC's training page to find a course near you.
  • Gather information from books, videos and websites.
  • Plan your trip route, check weather and snow conditions on www.avalanche.net.nz
  • Anticipate your actions. What you want to do often overrides your better judgement.


Must Do – when in alpine terrain:

  • Check your surroundings for recent avalanche activity, changes in terrain, snowpack and weather.
  • Learn to recognise avalanche terrain.
  • Analyse the snowpack stability using recommended tests.
  • Carry avalanche transceivers, probes and metal-blade shovels and know how to use them.
  • Travel one at a time across potential avalanche slopes.
Here's a clip that demonstrates the incredible power of avalanches.

Are you avalanche savvy?

Do you know how to recognise dangerous avalanche terrain?

Do you know how to use rescue equipment?

Have you considered carrying a transceiver, a probe and a shovel?

Do you know what weather sequences lead to avalanche conditions?

Have you checked the Backcountry Avalanche Advisory at www.avalanche.net.nz?

If this makes you feel a little underprepared, check out how to receive certified avalanche education on our training page. Topics covered include using your tranceiver, searching during an incident and assessing avalanche risk.



www.avalanche.net.nz is fantastic for getting the most recent information on avalanche risk levels at popular mountains around the country.

If you are heading into the backcountry and alpine terrain, check here first. And remember, avalanches happen in summer too.



Free downloads 

avalanche-safety-cover   avalanche-rescue-cover

Avalanche Pamphlets
You can download the Avalanche Safety and Avalanche Rescue pamphlets from the online store here


Avalanche Education 2014

Click here to download this season's Avalanche Education information sheet, including dates and locations for courses.



Mountain Safety Council managed websites
Mountain Saftey CouncilAdventure SmartAvalanche.net.nzNational Incident Database