A slope gradient map to avoid avalanches

On November 3, 2016, the National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information (IGN) put online a graphical representation of the slopes over 30° covering all French mountain ranges on Available for free, this information is a significant step forward in terms of avalanche accident prevention for winter sports enthusiasts.


Représentation des pentes à plus de 30°dans le vallon du Vénétier, massif de Belledonne (Isère) Representation of the slopes over 30° in the valley of Vénétier, Belledonne (Isere)

  • Project partner: IGN (National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information), Coordination Montagne
  • Country: France
  • Project type: Accident prevention
  • Support given: advisory role to the IGN and writing the booklet.

The Petzl Foundation and the Coordination Montagne brought the idea to the attention of the IGN, after an tragic series of accidents in the 2014/2015 winter season, during which 45 people lost their lives in avalanches. Supported by several mountain federations and mountain professional unions, this initiative was immediately given a favorable reception by the IGN.

Slope gradient is the most important parameter to be considered when analyzing avalanche terrain. The slope map on, shows all slopes over 30° which are longer than 25 meters. Its accuracy enables users to assess the gradient of key passages on a ski or snowshoe route.

Representation of the slopes over 30°, mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont-Blanc massif (Haute-savoie)

In addition, a booklet written by the Petzl Foundation and reviewed by the partner institutions gives detailed instructions with a specific example for use in the field. It also outlines the benefits and limitations of this new tool. It can be downloaded on the Petzl Foundation website.

Uploaded in December 2017


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