Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2024-89
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2024-89
10 Jun 2024
 | 10 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) v.2

Grant Statham and Cam Campbell

Abstract. The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) is an avalanche terrain classification system used to assess and communicate the exposure of backcountry terrain to the threat from avalanches, independent of daily hazard conditions. Commonly known as terrain ratings, these classifications are determined by an analysis of individual terrain parameters, which are then systematically combined to produce a single rating. The ATES model includes technical specifications for assessing terrain as well as corresponding communication scales for effectively sharing ratings with different kinds of backcountry users. ATES ratings are found in guidebooks and route descriptions or displayed spatially on maps. The system was originally introduced in Canada in 2004 as a risk management tool in conventional avalanche safety practices for public recreation and workplace avalanche safety. This paper introduces ATES v.2, an update to the system that expands the original scale from three levels to five by including Class 0 – Non-Avalanche Terrain, and Class 4 – Extreme Terrain. The original ATES v.1/04 and the ATES Zoning Model are merged into a single, five-level, updated version of ATES. ATES ratings can be applied as Areas, Zones, Corridors, or Routes and then communicated using models for backcountry travel and waterfall ice climbing.

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Grant Statham and Cam Campbell

Status: open (until 22 Jul 2024)

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Grant Statham and Cam Campbell
Grant Statham and Cam Campbell

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Short summary
The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) is an avalanche terrain rating system used for terrain assessment and risk communication in public and workplace avalanche safety practices. This paper introduces ATES v.2, an update to the system that expands the original scale from three levels to five by including Class 0 – Non-Avalanche Terrain, and Class 4 – Extreme Terrain. The updated models for assessment and communication are described in detail, along with methods for the application of ATES.
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