Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale

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The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) is used in conjunction with the CAC Avaluator tool for trip planning.

Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) v.1/04

Description Class Terrain Criteria
Simple 1 Exposure to long angle or primarily forested terrain.
Some forest openings may involve the runout zones of infrequent avalanches.
Many options to reduce or eliminate exposure. No glacier travel.
Challenging 2 Exposure to well defined avalanche paths, starting zones or terrain traps;
options exist to reduce or eliminate exposure with careful routefinding.
Glacier travel is straightforward but crevasse hazard may exist.
Complex 3 Exposure to multiple overlapping avalanche paths or large expanses of steep, open terrain;
multiple avalanche starting zones or terrain traps below;
minial options to reduce exposure.
Complicated glacier travel with extensive crevasse bands or icefalls.

The detailed technical criteria for Simple, Challenging and Complex ratings are available from the Parks Canada website.

ATES Terrain Ratings for SW BC Destinations

Official CAA ATES ratings are set by avalanche professionals who are memebers of the Canadian Avalanche Association. VOC ATES ratings are suggested by VOC members for interim use until CAA avalanche professional rates these trips.

Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale:

Trip Description CAA ATES Rating[1] VOC ATES Rating
Mount Seymour to Brocton Point Ski area parking lot to Brocton Point via BC Parks Trail Simple
Mount Seymour to 1st Peak Ski area parking lot to First Peak via BC Parks Trail Challenging
Mount Seymour to 3rd Peak Ski area parking lot to Third Peak via BC Parks Trail Complex
Mount Elsay Complex
Holyburn Mountain Simple
Mount Strachan Complex
Mt. Harvey From Harvey Creek Challenging
Ben Lomond NW Ridge Complex
Meslillooet Mountain E Ridge Complex
Mamquam Mountain NW Ridge Complex
Diamond Head: Elfin Lakes Shelter From Diamond Head parking lot along the marked route on the top of Paul Ridge to the Elfin Lakes Shelter Simple
Diamond Head: Paul Ridge Yoyo skiing on the north side of the ridge Challenging
Garibaldi Neve Traverse Normal low route from Elfin Lakes Shelter to Garibaldi Lake Challenging
Mount Garibaldi NE Face Complex
Garibaldi Lake Trail (to Burton Hut) Normal route to the Burton Hut via Rubble Creek Trail and skiing across Garibaldi Lake. Entire route is below treeline. Simple
Black Tusk Approach from Garibaldi lake or microwave towers. Objective is skiing slopes just below final rock summit Complex
Black Tusk East Knob Approach from Garibaldi Lake with objective of skiing terrain above Black Tusk Meadows up as high as the summit of the east knob Challenging
Panorama Ridge Challenging
Guard Glacier The long ski run from near the top of the Deception Pinnacles down to the Burton Hut Challenging
Bookworms via Sphinx Glacier Challenging
Roe Creek to Brew Hut Access via Roe Creek road and marked trail to Brew Lake. Main hazard comes from crossing a number of open rocky slopes along the trail that are below treeline. These slopes face south and are known to release wet loose snow avalanches with solar heating. Above Brew Lake there are many route finding options and the best route has very little avalanche exposure, however visibility is frequently poor in this area making hazard identification difficult. See Roe Creek Ski Route page. Challenging
Brew Lake Basin Most terrain is low angle but there are a few small steeper slopes to watch out for Challenging
Bowl and Shady Trees East of Brew Hut Upper bowl has alpine exposure to winds, treeline below the lake down to 1300m Challenging
Brandywine Bowl near Brew Hut This is the bowl immediately below the Brew Hut on the Brandywine Creek side. There are a number of steep couloirs that cause frequent avalanches into this bowl. Complex
Singing Pass Area Includes Musical Bumps (Flute, Oboe), Singing Pass, Cowboy Ridge and Russet Ridge Challenging
Mt Whirlwind Challenging
Mt Fissile Complex
Spearhead Traverse Complex
Blackcomb Peak Complex
Corona Complex
Husume Complex
Mt Decker Complex
Mt Phalanx & Poop Chutes Complex
Rainbow Mountain Challenging
Beverley Creek Whistler Olympic Park to pass with 21 Mile Creek. Keep to climbers left side Challenging
Whistler Olympic Park to Hanging Lake Challenging
Mount Sproatt via hanging valley from 21 mile creek Challenging
Wedge Mountain Any Route Complex
Wedge-Curie Traverse Complex
North Joffre Creek Horseshoe route around north Joffre Creek. The main hazards on this route are the large convex slope NE of Saxifrage, and steep slopes going up and over the shoulder of Cirque Peak. Complex
Joffre Lakes Challenging
Cayoosh Mtn Complex
Cerise Creek to Keith's Hut Normal route up valley bottom is exposed to several large avalanche paths and a terrain trap (Cerise Creek). Challenging
Vantage Peak From Keith's Hut via SW ridge Challenging
Anniversary Glacier Keith's Hut to Matier - Joffre col. Exposed traverse beneath SE Face of Joffre Peak to gain the Anniversary Glacier is the crux of the route Complex
Wendy Thompson Hut access Normal route from Duffey Lake road via Cayoosh Creek. Challenging
Mount Rohr Challenging
Steep Creek Complex
Van Horlick Complex
Hurley Silver Mine Complex
Brian Waddington Hut access Normal access route via Phelix Creek. This route is below treeline, but crosses a number of large avalanche tracks and runout zones near the valley bottom Simple
Cabin Hill Popular skiing area near Brian Waddington Hut. Challenging
Cabin Hill back side East facing bowl behind cabin hill Challenging
Cabin Hill west ski runs descending NW from the ridge behind cabin hill. These slopes have complex gullies and seem to be more wind affected than surrounding areas Complex
Mount Gandalf from Brian Waddington Hut via South Face. This is a large open face with numerous avalanche gullies Complex
Mount Aragorn from Brian Waddington Hut via Aragorn Glacier Challenging
Copp Creek A long ski run from the Brian Waddington Hut accessed via the Aragorn Glacier Complex
Return of the King A steep ski run coming off the subsidiary ridge north of Peregrine Peak and ending at the Brian Waddington Hut. This run is often used to return to the hut from the skiing areas around the upper lake. Complex
Peregrine Bowl The bowl the leads into the col west of Peregrine Peak Challenging
Back side of Peregrine col The steep run on the south side of the col west of Peregrine Peak Challenging
Gandalf Col The bowl below the col south of Gandalf Peak. Exposure to large avalanche slopes from north facing slopes on the summit between the gandalf col and the peregrine col. Challenging
Needle Peak Bowl Challenging
Zoa Peak Challenging
Thar Basin Complex

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