|Loose Snow Avalanches
Loose snow sliding down a mountainside is called a loose snow
avalanche. Small loose snow avalanches are called Sluffs.
Loose snow avalanches usually start from a point and fan outward
as they descend, and because of this they are also called “point
releases.” Very few people are killed by loose snow avalanches
because they tend to be small and they tend to fracture beneath
you as you cross a slope instead of above you as slab avalanches
often do. The avalanche culture tends to minimize the danger
of loose snow avalanches, sometimes calling them "harmless
sluffs." But, of course, this is not always the case. Houses
have been completely destroyed by "harmless sluffs,"
and if caught in one, it can easily take the victim over cliffs,
into crevasses or bury them deeply in a terrain trap such as
a gully. Most of the people killed in sluffs are climbers who
are caught in naturally-triggered sluffs that descend from above--especially
in wet or springtime conditions.
Sluffs can actually be a sign of stability within the deeper
snow when new snow sluffs down without triggering deeper slabs.
Sluffs are usually easy to deal with but slabs are definitely