There is still snow in the Tatras, the avalanche “two” applies, and the forecasted warming may worsen the situation, but foresters are already planning an action to clean up trees felled by previous powerful avalanches. Among others, the one that came down from the Gendarmerie Couloir at the beginning of February. However, as explained by Grzegorz Bryniarski, forester of the Morskie Oko protective circuit, “an avalanche is a natural process in the mountains and nothing but roads and tourist trails will not be touched”.
IN Tatra Mountains there is still a lot of snow. The second in a five-level, ascending scale, the degree of avalanche danger is in force. According to TOPR rescuers, the forecast warming will worsen the avalanche situation. Last weekend there were a series of hiking and skiing accidents. Rescuers, among others, evacuated a tourist from Orla Perć.
With the period when the snow melts, foresters make plans to clean up trees felled by avalanches.
Tatras. An avalanche descended from the Gendarmerie Couloir
A powerful avalanche descended at the beginning of February from the Żleb Gendarmerie crossing the road to Morskie Oko. It was up to 150 meters wide. Heaps of snow broke the tree stand as far as Rybi Potok.
The front of the avalanche was 8-10 meters high, up to 150 meters wide, and about 4.5 meters thick. – It was one of the largest avalanches, 4.5 meters thick. There have been eight avalanches in total. In this area, the avalanche broke 3.6 hectares of forest. The plows fought for two days to clear this section from the Żleb of the Gendarmerie to the shelter in Morskie Oko, said Grzegorz Bryniarski, a forester of the Morskie Oko protective circuit. . He added that “it was one of the largest avalanches in the last 30 years.” – If the snow melts, we will start cleaning up after the avalanche and clear the ditch and roadsides from the cut trees. This area is a strictly protected area, an avalanche is a natural process in the mountains and nothing but roads and tourist trails will be disturbed. Just as nature arranged these blocks, so they will lie here – he explained.
On the slopes of the mountains lie a lot of broken mountain pines, willows and rowan and spruce forest.
A series of avalanches
It wasn’t the only avalanche in the area. Earlier, three avalanches descended from the Marchwiczna Pass to Morskie Oko itself, breaking the ice sheet on this lake. The stairs leading from the shelter to the shore of Morskie Oko have been completely buried. Another avalanche from Biały Żleb covered the road leading to Morskie Oko. – All these avalanches descended between 8 am and 1 pm, it was Saturday and if the road had not been closed, an unbelievable tragedy could have happened – noted Bryniarski.
On February 5, 2023, at the request of TOPR, the Tatra National Park closed the entire area of the Polish Tatras. The decision was related to the very difficult weather situation and high avalanche risk. Such a decision was made for the first time in history.
Photos of avalanches from the TOPR helicopter
This is what the avalanche looked like, which came down in the area of Morskie Oko.
The photos below show an avalanche that descended on the eastern slopes of Goryczkowa Czuba, Czubik and Konczysty Wierch.
Main photo source: PAP/Grzegorz Momot