Observation: Girdwood

Location: Notch Mountain

Route & General Observations

Cat track to 2000′

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Small wind slabs easily triggered on steep rolls in wind exposed terrain
Cracking in wind-loaded snow

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Light to moderate snowfall throughout the tour (S1-S2), 4" new
East winds 10-25 mph, gusty at times, light to moderate transport increasing in the afternoon
Temperatures in the high 20°Fs.

Snow surface

Soft new snow, even wind affected snow was still relatively soft but did get progressively stiffer through the afternoon. Lots of drifting and mini cornice development.


December 22 crust went to around 1100' with a 3-5" of soft snow on top.
Above 1100' the December 1st crust was around 80 -100 cm deep with height of snow averaging 175 cm.
Dug 2 pits @ 2000'. NW aspect, 20° slope, HS: 215cm and 190 cm. We dug just a bit below the December 1st crust as this was our info target.
New soft slab was easy to see with shovel tilt.
In one pit the December 22nd buried stellar layer 70 cm down was visible, CT 28, but not repeatable. No other test results on this layer.
The December 1st crust was down 85 cm in both. The crust/facet/crust sandwich was visible and columns could be pried off here failing in the facets just below the upper part of the crust. However, the facets are 1-2mm and not well developed. Of note the slab above is 1F to pencil hard. No test results on this layer including deep tap tests, ECTX. This depth with the hardness of the slab makes the ECT questionably effective. PST was attempted but it was hard to keep saw in the layer as it is irregular.

Photos & Video
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