Danger ratings are a combination of
· Likelihood/probability (to include sensitivity/geographical distribution)
· Consequence/size/type of avalanche
· Other Intangibles - Confidence level, Predictability/Manageability; Pucker Factor
And it’s all a matter of scale on the Risk Ladder of Low-Moderate-Considerable-High-Extreme
In our current situation, the likelihood of triggering one of these deep slabs is diminishing, though the geographical distribution (based upon snow structure of slab over depth hoar) comprises more than half the terrain (west through north through southeasterly facing terrain.) – not coincidentally the terrain that has the best snow conditions. It’s good news/bad news here.
Consequences are mostly bad news. These deep slabs are between 2’-5’ deep, 100’-1000’ wide. Worse if a catch and carry drags you through the trees, over a cliff band and into a deep walled gulley or abrupt transition.
Confidence level is low – one could possibly ride 5 lines but trigger the deep slab on the 6th. Stability tests show conflicting results. Avalanches may pull out way above you. Many have naturalled during the January cycle but have since re-loaded. Still more bad news.
The things you have absolute control over are Terrain and Companions. Stack the odds by choosing good, reliable, safe companions with similar levels of acceptable risk. Choose terrain where you don’t have to play the odds – slopes less than 30 degrees with nothing steeper above. Simple.