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Observations

Region: Anchorage Front Range
Location: Above South Fork Trailhead, Eagle River
Observer:
Date:

Route & General Observations

Group of 5 skiers followed pre-existing track up the right side of the high traffic “gully” just South of South Fork Creek Trailhead until ~3200ft and begin traversing North searching for deeper, more consistent snow pack. Snow pack was variable, light, soft snow. Thickness varied from inches to feet. Lightly snowing, low visibility. No wind.

Avalanche Details

Avalanche details

Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Soft SlabAspect East
Elevation 3000ftSlope Angle 35degCrown Depth2ft
Width 100ftLength 300ft  

Observer Comments

Second skier in group skied near a buried rock (initiation spot shown in photo), which caused the slabs to release down to the ground. Two distinct slabs could be seen post-avalanche. Soft upper layer slab and a harder lower slab. Area appeared wind loaded. Average depth 2.5ft, maximum estimated around 3ft. Avalanche propagated away from the skier to the next weak points (rocks). Skier was carried less than 20ft and stopped upon digging skis into exposed ground. First skier was looker's right of the avalanche out of harm's way on a slight hill.

Red Flags

Obvious signs of instability

Recent Avalanches?NoCollapsing (Whumphing)?YesCracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes

Observer Comments

Whumping was experienced on the ski out in the lower elevations. Not experienced on the way up due to using pre-existing skin track. Shooting cracks seen immediately preceding the avalanche and only in that wind loaded area. None seen during quick tests next to skin track on way up.

Weather

Weather

Light snow, low visibility, no wind.

Snow Characteristics

Snow surface

Light, soft snow

Snowpack

Information from post-avalanche. Two distinct layers can be seen. See photos.

Photos & Video

Photos



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