Avalanche Risk Rising Across The Country - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Avalanche Risk Rising Across The Country

Published February 9, 2018

Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

Following heavy snowfall covering most of the country in recent days, RÚV reports that the weather might only get worse over the weekend with an increasing risk of avalanches.

Outdoor workers and tourists planning to engage in winter activities should be especially careful. “It’s crucial for people not to travel alone and have all the necessary equipment ready in case of an emergency,” Jónas Guðmundsson from the Icelandic Association For Search And Rescue told reporters.

In recent years, there has been a rapidly growing number of tourists interested in activities such as mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the risks associated with these kind of sports.

People causing accidents themselves

Harpa Grímsdóttir from the Icelandic Meteorological Office emphasised that travelling in the mountains is the most dangerous. “There is a risk that an avalanche could be caused by people themselves and their careless behaviour. It is advised not to go off the trail while hiking in popular destinations. Esja, for example, is a very dangerous mountain and there have been a lot of winter accidents there before.”

It’s also important not to forget about the risks after the weather gets better, because when heavy snow accumulates in a short period of time, it can be unstable for days to come. “People tend to go off-guard when the sun finally comes out, but they really need to be careful and take precautions following such unpredictable weather,” added Harpa. 

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