Observation: Girdwood

Location: Crow Creek Area

Route & General Observations

Raggedtop to 2700′

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

Recent small wet loose avalanches from days prior on SW aspect of Goat Mtn

Light to moderate wind transport off peaks near Notch/Alyeska midday

One rogue ~4' diameter "rollerball" rolled down an east aspect at 2600' during obscured skies... no cornice overhead, and the best guess is that it was a tree bomb? But there weren't many in the area, nor were they generally that large!

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

Broken -> high overcasts skies in the AM, transitioning to overcast/obscured by valley fog in the afternoon.
Calm winds, though moderate wind transport seen back by notch/Alyeska mid-morning - see photo below.
Warm... above freezing at the road, and right around freezing at our high point of 2700'

Snow surface

2-3" of moist new snow present to our high point on an east aspect of 2700'. Surface snow was dry but on the edge of moist on a steep north aspect at 2400' on our descent mid-afternoon. The sun is definitely working East -> South -> West aspects these days, as evidenced by the series of melt freeze crusts found in our pits described further below, and recent wet loose avalanches observed starting at 3500' on Goat. The warm temperatures that made today's new snow moist may well leave a crust below 2000' for the days ahead, depending on overnight temps.


In a search for either the 3/2 or 3/16 buried surface hoar, we dug pits on E/SE aspects and N aspects near treeline, while also taking a look at the different structure in the top 12" of the snowpack - the entirety of new snow that has fallen here this March - on aspects that get direct sun versus shaded slopes. We found buried surface hoar 10cm deep in the north aspect snowpits only... this layer was buried on 3/16.

The 3/2 interface - 25cm deep - was visible in pit walls, but only decomposing snow grains could be seen at this layer. That said, the 3/2 buried surface hoar isn't showing up consistently in all pits region wide, including on Turnagain Pass... just this week, some observations have found it upright and intact, while other observers haven't seen it at all. So the absence of it in these two specific pits doesn't mean it doesn't exist elsewhere in the Girdwood valley.

No propagation in stability test results.

Photos & Video
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