Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Falls Creek

Route & General Observations

Follow-up to Miles Knotek’s quality 12/18 obs. Skied/climbed north and south chutes and faces in Falls Creek on 12/17. Widespread avalanche cycle that ran since we were up there a week ago. These slides predominately started from thin spots on rock faces or from high on the wind scoured wall of the Sheep Thrills Ridge. Crown heights up to approximately 3 feet although hard to tell for sure as they were partially filled back. Several new D2 avalanches including one that filled the creek with approximately 20 feet of snow and splintered alders.

Compression and extended column tests on a 36 degree slope at 3200 ft on the south aspect of the Falls Lake Knob on a slope that had not previously slid (as far as we could tell). We were focused on the thick layer of facets on top of the melt-freeze crust about 95 cm below the surface. CTN and ECTX on the facets and the melt-freeze interface although several ECTN results within the storm snow. For what its worth, we were able to get both tests to fail way outside of test parameters on the suspect facet interface.

Fun watching the mountains fill in with these storms. For example, the north Falls Peak chute is about 10 feet wider than it was a week ago. No active signs of instability while we were out.