Blizzards are snowstorms on steroids. To be classified as one, a snowstorm must have sustained winds of over 35 mph, visibility of 1,320 feet (402 m.) or less, and these conditions must last for at least three hours.

Often visibility can drop to near zero, especially in the mountains where you are actually in the clouds of the storm in the first place. Because of these conditions, blizzards can be very dangerous.

If caught in a blinding snowstorm (mountain junkies often call this "full conditions") in the back country, the best thing to do is hunker down in your tent or other shelter and wait it out.

For this reason, you should always have extra clothing and food with you in the high altitude environment, or anywhere else for that matter, if severe weather conditions are expected — and bad weather should always be expected at high altitude.

Remember: Plan for the worst, but hope and pray for the best.
Return from Blizzards page to Mountain Safety


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