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A woman from Utah County educates hikers about the risk of avalanches



Pleasant Grove, Utah – A woman was working to educate hikers about the dangers of backcountry avalanches, which were occurring at an alarming pace over the holiday weekend. The threat is not limited to higher elevations.

Nearly 20 avalanches have been reported since Friday, according to the Utah Avalanche Center on Sunday.

With a focus on hiking enthusiasts, Tina Bean, the creator of the popular Facebook group “Hike the Wasatch,” has watched it expand to over 33,000 members by routinely posting intelligence, training materials, and information from the Utah Avalanche Center.

“What I do is I take sections of that course and I post it every day online to educate them on one small facet of avalanche safety,” Bean said.

Bean noted that untrained hikers may find it misleading when the weather warms up in the valleys.

“You think, ‘eh, it can’t be that bad up there,’” Bean said. “Yeah, there’s a lot more snow when you get 1,000 feet higher than the valley bench.”

She is especially concerned about recent near misses in areas like Lake Blanche and Provo’s Rock Canyon.

Bean stated that she makes an effort to inform hikers about any possible warning signs, including breaking or collapsing on a trail.

She stated that she usually tries to stay away from hiking in the winter during stormy conditions and possibly for a few days to a week following one.

According to Bean, an avalanche can occur for quite few causes at times.

“You can trigger it from the bottom, you can trigger it from the top — just the vibration of your body traveling along that trail,” Bean said.

Bean stated that she wants to protect others from the worst situation possible.

“It’s horrific what happens in an avalanche,” Bean said. “When an avalanche engulfs you and buries you, it encases you like a tomb of cement. You cannot move. You can’t even move your limbs. Sometimes the snow gets in your mouth and in your nose. You only have about 10 to 15 minutes before you die.”

She advised all hikers to complete the Utah Avalanche Center course and educate themselves on avalanche risk.

“I know I would hate to be in an avalanche and I certainly don’t want to see any other human being be buried in an avalanche,” Bean said. “Just be careful. Know before you go. Get the education and learn to read the forecast.”


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