Terrain traps are features that increase the severity of being caught in an avalanche. It is very important to be aware of them while traveling in the backcountry. It’s good practice to always consider what could happen if an avalanche were to occur at any given point in your backcountry travels.
Some terrain traps, such as rocks, cliffs, and trees, increase the risk of getting injured. Even a small avalanche can be dangerous if it’s going to sweep you over a cliff. Gullies, creeks, and sudden flat spots are terrain traps that increase the likelihood of a deep burial. If an avalanche sweeps you into a creek bed, the snow will pile up on top of you, burying you deeper than if you were swept into a smooth runout zone.
Hover over or tap on the icons in the image below to learn more about terrain traps.