Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: Eagle River - Mile High Saddle

Route & General Observations

4 Feb, skier headed up the ridge line to scout potential skiable slopes. Skier was descending when the avalanche was triggered.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

This slope slid earlier this season on January 11th, 2020.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Yes
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect North Northwest
Elevation 2600ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 12inWidth 150ft
Vertical Run 200ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried? 1
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

**Note** A friend asked me to come out 5 Feb and look at the avalanche they triggered the day prior and give them some pointers for instability tests and observations and to see why it happened.

Wind Slab released when skier was descending down the slope at it's steepest angle. The slab fractured at the bottom of a convex feature in the terrain as it was rolling over to steeper terrain, which was where the skier skied. 2 layers of hard slab (P hardness) released with another 2 hard slab layers (P & 1F hardness) underneath and over faceted grains. The weak layer appeared to be either facets or simply a weak interface.

Events of the day

Skier hikes/skis this location regularly.
The slope had alot of bare spots with vegetation and rocks showing through. The spot where the avalanche happened was one of few spots filled in with snow near the top of the hill.

Rescue events

The slide stopped when it came up against a small bunch of alders. The skier was able to self rescue but had to probe for a few minutes to find a ski that had come off during the slide. The ski was buried about 1m deep. No injuries.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Heavy winds after last storm.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Happened on 4 Feb.

Snow surface

Hard packed wind slab.


4 wind slab layers. Facets under the bottom wind slab and some facets in between some of the layers.

Photos & Video
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