Observation: Girdwood

Location: Notch Mountain

Route & General Observations

Cat road 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.
Observer Comments

Wind loading

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

Light rain transitioning to snow at 1800'. Snowfall increased at 12:30pm. Precipitation eased off at 1:30 pm.
Light to moderate NE wind gusty at times
Temperatures in the mid to low 30°Fs

Snow surface

Saturated to our high point at 2000'. Depth of saturation decreased with elevation. Moist snow was falling above 1800' but rain had previously fallen to at least 2000'. The saturated snow will eventually become another crust layer. Colder snow falling on top will likely facet due to melt-layer recrystallization. With temperatures and rain/snow line forecast to fluctuate in the next 24 hrs it will be interesting to see if another crust/facet combination does develop. Stay tuned!

Runnels visible to around 1800'.
Creep was very visible along the cat road as the top layers moved faster than layers below.


HS at 1200': 220 cm, 12.1 crust down 140 cm.

Pits at 2000', NW aspect, pit #1 HS: 162 cm, pit #2 HS: 268 cm, as noted in ob the day before the snowpack depths were variable due to wind effect. Ski pen was only 10-20 cm down and the snow was very sticky to skin and ski through.

In pit #1 HS: 162 cm the 12.1 crust was 80 cm with a slightly faceted layer above it. However, no test results on this layer. At the surface there was a thin 1-2 cm saturated layer, over a 10 cm layer of moist slightly wind affected snow. This was over 20 cm of drier less dense snow. 30 cm down there was hard (1F) wind affected snow. With CTs and shovel tilt the upper snowpack would fail around 25 cm down within the drier snow (see photo). This drier/lower density snow may continue to act as a weak layer as more loading occurs before it starts to round/bond.

Lots of drifting and wind effect near the ridge and on terrain features at lower elevations. No snow in the trees.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.