Avalanche: Girdwood

Location: Raven Headwall

Route & General Observations

I triggered a wind slab when side stepping down the Raven Headwall at the end of the Eklutna Traverse. Weather today was calm and clear, but winds picked up noticeably once we were on top of the Headwall. Based on tracks, two other skiers had skied the Headwall without incident earlier today.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect South
Elevation 5600ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 12inWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Avalanche Details

Finishing out the Eklutna traverse via the Raven Headwall. Winds had picked up from calm to transporting snow by the time we reached the Headwall at the end of the day. A first skier side stepped down the start of the Headwall and then continued to a safe zone off the slope. I was the second skier and triggered the slab while sidestepping down about 15 feet down the Headwall on far skiers’ left. The slab broke above me and propagated the entire width of the Headwall and ran to the bottom. I was able to immediately self arrest on the bed surface and was not carried or caught. The crown near me was between 6-9 inches and looked deeper at the other side of the Headwall. I and my other two partners subsequently skied the bed surface without incident. A good reminder that touchy wind slabs can build very quickly when there’s soft snow to move around.

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