Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Peak 3

Route & General Observations

Quick pre-work laps of P3, climbed to shoulder. Standard uptrack through the drainage and up the bowl. As we were leaving at 10:30, the lower road and parking lot was chock full!

Sorry for the lack of pictures!

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

Cracking only observed on south shoulder; we didn’t tour higher than 3750’ due to a rapidly hardening wind slab above that.

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

21 degrees F and light winds at the car, 15 degrees and moderate winds at ridgetop.
Overcast, S-1 graupel off and on throughout.

Snow surface

Yesterday’s low density refresh made for excellent ski quality. Wind deposit became noticeable at 2900’ and up; once on the south shoulder, wind effect was much more prevalent with soft slabs and shooting cracks.


The facet/crust combo is now topped with 4-6 in of low density freshies. The crust was present all the way to our high point of 3750’, weakening with elevation.
No formal stability tests, hand pits showed the soft wind slab failing with low energy on the crust, 10-15cm down. Below that, the facets were moist and seemed to be continuing to heal.
Ski cuts on the ridge produced nothing but small sluffs and tiny soft slab releases, but it’s easy to see how sustained winds could create a larger problem quite rapidly with that much snow available for transport.