|Region:||Chugach State Park|
|Location:||Saddle between Wedge and Avalanche|
Route & General Observations
Started off skiing but with the hard snow it was more work than it was worth. Took skis off and climbed up in boots, trying to stay away from the drifts and remain on the rocky areas. Started down, focusing on getting back to the skis which were right below me. Since I wasn’t climbing, figured a more direct route would be the most efficient. Stepped off the rock outcropping onto the slab which cushioned my step but the heel of my boot fractured the thickest part of the slab. I could see the crack shoot out on both sides and then focused on riding it out. Initially on top of the slab until it started to break up. Luckily I was at the very top of the slide which placed me on the top of the debris pile at the end. Was supine the entire time with boots in front.
|Trigger||Foot Penetration||Avalanche Type||Hard Slab||Aspect||Southwest|
|Elevation||3600ft||Slope Angle||34deg||Crown Depth||12in|
Route up in blue. Took the shortcut in orange going down which was a big mistake. You can see the step that started it all. Right at the deepest part of the slab. Drifting behind that big rock outcropping. Lots of snow a couple of weeks back has partially thawed and refrozen creating a hard, slick surface. Today there was a little bit of powder falling up high, but it was drifting horribly. An avalanche class would have helped identify the warning signs. Not sure if a pit would have helped as the slab thickness was highly variable. The slab was monolithic- no layers at all. Could have built an igloo with the debris as the blocks were so solid.
Obvious signs of instability
|Recent Avalanches?||No||Collapsing (Whumphing)?||No||Cracking (Shooting cracks)?||Yes|
Lots of drifting on top of hard smooth firn. Shiny surface.
Very windy with drifting snow.
Highly variable from powder to hard firn. Melt-freeze solid. Not much wind crust, but there were obviously thick slabs, but only in certain leeward areas. Don't trust that conditions in one area will be uniform elsewhere.