Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Flute Glacier

Route & General Observations

Toured up from South Fork Trailhead to the head of the flute glacier. Attempted to ski NW facing couloir to the shoulder of flute but turned back for instability. Surface snow was a breakable sun crust to 4K feet. After this it was inconsistent wind slab with about 3-4 inches of soft snow overlying this slab, making the wind slab hard to spot from afar, but easy to identify when touring over the snow.

Up at 5500 feet we started skinning up a steep west facing chute on Flute Peak. Surface snow in the chute was 4-6 inches of soft snow overlying a 4f slab. Test pit just above 6K feet on west aspect 41 degree slope showed 6 inches of soft fist surface snow on top of a 3 finger slab that was 55 cm deep on a very thin 1f crust. We performed extended column test with result ECTP13 with failure at the 3f slab at depth of 55 cm. This was a high energy failure w/ q1 sheer with column easily popping out and hitting me in the chest.

We did not proceed higher in the chute. Soul skiing on the upper glacier was quite nice!