Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Peak 3 Main Bowl

Route & General Observations

Toured up from plowed end of Canyon Rd… yes, it had been plowed already! Typical skin route up gully to bowl of P3. Wind had been going since Wednesday evening, with sites giving numbers from 5-9 steady and 15-20 gusts. Parking spot at 9am was calm and 16 degrees. Tracks and skin were not wind affected until about 2500ft. From there, tracks were lightly filled, but snow was still very loose and soft. Wind picked up above 2500ft and snow surface stiffened slightly. With some EZ pull hand pits along the way, and a natural slide on P2.. at 3100ft, we decided to do a quick pit as the snow became more wind affected. A one test result of ECTN18-19 on the fresh/old interface gave us pause for skiing anything too steep. With the greater visible wind affect up higher, we decided to skin up only a bit more to around 3300ft. As of 10:30am, the new snow dump just wasn’t quite binding with the old surface snow. Snow was deep and soft with zero concerns skiing down, other than it was nearly too deep to make many turns on a 27 degree slope. ;-)

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)?No
Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Clear morning and 16f degrees and calm winds at the car. Temp dropped to around 12 at 3300ft and winds picked up.

Snow surface

65cm of fresh snow measured at pit location at 3100ft. Soft and deep through entire ascent and bits of trail breaking. Only started to stiffen noticeably as we went past about 3000ft. Look substantially more wind affected above 3500ft into the top part of the bowl.


Quick shovel pit at 3300ft. Single test result of ECTN18-19.. snow packed and fell around the shovel until failing on the old snow surface, 65cm down. Below the new snow, old surface had multiple hard layers, but only cut loose below the new snow. Two probes for snow depth were at 130cm... but also encountered several rocks just 30-50cm under the new snow. Go figure! But didn't hit any on the ski down.