Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Chugach State Park - Middle Fork Loop trail rollovers

Route & General Observations

Quick trip out to see what the winds were doing to popular trails at Glen Alps and investigate hazards unsuspecting folks venturing out tomorrow might overlook. Took the Little O’Malley trail with intent to dig a pit on the SE flank of Little O’Malley, but stopped to examine wind loading and the beginnings of cornices(!) along the rollovers across the bridge.

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)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Generated shooting cracks while skinning along the top of the rollovers.

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

Wind direction varied by location and elevation. Moderate winds were blowing up valley from the ENE at the bridge and filling in previous tracks.

Snow surface

Smooth and soft with drifts


Overall, drifts were common in exposed areas with soft wind slabs from 10-35cm capping more new snow below. At the rollovers slope angles are steepening into the 40s in some places and cutting the slope produced shooting cracks; stepping off the track produced failures of 35cm deep blocks.

Ski penetration generally varied from ~30 to 45cm