Avalanche Atlas

Otira Valley

Click Here to open a PDF file (100Kb) of general avalanche data for this valley system (1989-Present).

Access to this valley is via the Otira Valley walking track from Highway 73. Possible avalanche activity is first encountered from the steep screes just prior to the buttresses on Goldney Ridge. Extreme avalanche behaviour is possible from May to November each year.

  • Airbourne avalanche activity is prevalent from the Philistine Buttress anywhere above the foot bridge. These initiate slope failures on the bluffs and lower slopes with avalanche paths being capable of crossing the river and sweeping 50-100 metres upslope.
  • Avalanches from the Otira Face of Mt Rolleston are capable of travelling down valley up to 1000 metres. Note that they tend to oscillate randomly (snake like) as they proceed down valley, rising up to 50 metres on each flank. Also note that a complete failure on the Otira Face will lead to a substantial powder blast with up to 300 metres vertical content as the impacting snow is driven (launched) over the moraine walls at the head of the valley.
  • The Philistine Ramp avalanche path is capable of travelling completely across the valley floor.
  • The Otira Slide is a prime avalanche path. Slope failures are generally initiated by avalanche activity from the Middle Peak flank of the Otira Face, however wet sluffs from its Goldney Ridge section also occur from time to time.
  • The gully encountered before the Otira Slide (from Goldney Ridge) is an extremely dangerous avalanche path, as fast rolling wet & dry releases advance to the centre of the valley floor during periods of extreme danger.
Otira Valley

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