Observation: Seward

Location: Carter Lake

Route & General Observations

We rode to Carter and Crescent Lakes today to check out the snowpack in the northern Seward Zone. The trail is in great shape, and we didn’t find any overflow on the lakes. We found plenty of soft snow in the meadows near the lakes. We did not get any concerning test results, but we did see plenty of wind loading from the strong northwest winds on the ridgetops.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

Active wind loading from northwest winds on the ridgetops.

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

It was partly sunny, windy and cold. Temperatures were 10 degrees F at the car and there was strong wind on the ridgetops from the northwest.

Snow surface

There was a foot of soft settled snow on top of a stout crust above 1,000’. The surfaces in the upper elevations looked wind affected with lots of texture.


We dug a pit at 2,000’ on a west aspect where the snowpack was 6’ deep (185cm). There was a massive 8” (20cm) crust about 1’ below the surface. There were 4” of rounding facets above the crust and another 8” of decomposing new snow above that. We did not get any concerning test results (CTN and ECTN11 - 20 cm down on the facets above the crust). The January facets are below the President’s Day crust, they are rounding and starting to stick together. Thick crusts like this one tend to prevent a person from being able to trigger an avalanche on a layer below. We don’t know how high this crust exists so there is a chance a person would be able to trigger an avalanche on the January facets where the crust is thin or non-existent.

Photos & Video
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