Snow Cornice

A Snow Cornice seen from Guthrie Peak

This picture taken from atop Mount Guthrie along the Rocky Mountain Front illustrates a snow cornice, a beautiful, yet deadly snow feature for mountaineers and mountain-dwelling animals. The central portion of the picture shows the overhanging ledge of snow that builds up horizontally on leeward (away from the wind) sides of mountain ridges. Cornices from above appear to be a part of the ridge, but can collapse under small amounts of weight and/or in solar-heated conditions. Falling through the cornice is the danger from above, but the danger cornices pose for those below is just as, if not more dangerous as collapsing cornices often cause avalanches.

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