Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: Above South Fork Trailhead, Eagle River

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
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect East
Elevation 3000ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth2ftWidth 100ft
Vertical Run 300ft  
Avalanche Details

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

Light snow, low visibility, no wind.

Snow surface

Light, soft snow


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

Photos & Video
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