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Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Falls Creek

Date:
Observer:
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)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Observed one small (D1) natural avalanche at the base of a cliff on a W aspect slope. Appears to have slid late on 2/26 or perhaps sometime 2/27.

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

Clear, windy with plumes of snow off all ridge tops, single digits, perhaps colder up higher. Light sun crust on due south aspects.

Snow surface

30+cm of new snow at sea level, increasing with elevation. Wind pillows/ripples prevalent above tree/brush line.

Snowpack

Pit at ~3100' on a SE facing slope, 33degrees: ~1.75m of snow, roughly 0.8m of which appeared to be new snow from the storm on Monday (2/26). The top 15cm was stiffening with current wind and failed easily with no propagation (ECT4N). Several mid storm layers similarly failed with no propagation (ECT12N). Finally we got a ECTP28 at the interface between the storm snow and old (crustier) snow.

On our second pass up the ridge about 45 minutes later, an adjacent, steeper slope collapsed with obvious cracks and a visible compression line mid slope, but did not slide. We felt that this collapse was due to the actively stiffening wind/crust skin on the surface of the snowpack.

Overall there was a surprising amount of new snow at upper elevations, although this makes sense as the weather station at Indian Pass registered ~1.7" of water over the last 4-5 days.