Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Peak 3

Route & General Observations

Toured from Rabbit Lake TH up the Peak 3 gully until 2500’, then hopped onto the treed knoll lookers right of the knoll to check out the forming wind slabs on a rollover. Windy windy windy!

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Holy moly, the shooting cracks were unreal. They propagated upslope several dozen meters along exposed areas; and in one notable instance we saw it noiselessly cruise along a convex rollover for around 100m (well, it might have made a sound. The wind was quite loud.)

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

Broken clouds, hovered around 30F throughout the tour. Moderate to strong SE winds with some remarkable snow transport seen off the tops of ridges and exposed faces.

Snow surface

Mostly very firm wind effect, with several patches of bare ground poking through. The trees harbored soft deposits.


The recent wind event seems to have pared down the complexity of the snowpack: a hard wind slab sits on top of the MF crust/facet combo on the base. Depth was widely variable; from scoured on exposed ridges, to 40-50cm in most areas, to over 2 meters in loaded terrain features.

We dug a quick pit on one of the rollovers directly above treeline, 2620ft. HS 67, NW aspect. A 45cm knife to pencil hard wind slab sat on top of a irregular melt freeze crust, then 20cm 4F facets. Stability tests yielded a CT12SC and STE. Our ECT cord could not cut through the wind slab, and by that point the wind was filling our pit as fast as we were digging it out so we turned tail and descended to the car.

Photos & Video
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