Observation: Girdwood

Location: Crow Pass

Route & General Observations

On Saturday, 10/31/2015 we did a loop tour from the Crow Pass trailhead up the trail, over the pass between Barnes and Jewel mountains, up the Milk Glacier, down the Raven Glacier, then up the now retreated north lobe of the Jewel Glacier to the top. Several storm snow avalanches were visible on the extremely steep west facing terrain of Goat Mountain. These avalanches ran full length, but were limited in width to less than 200 feet, and all started above ~5,500 feet. The starting zones of these slides were confined to sheltered terrain or likely drifted terrain features. We observed shooting cracks in drifted spots on the Milk on the rain crust interface. On the Milk headwall I produced one long, shooting crack. I’m quite sure this would have slid if steeper. We observed no signs of instability on the Raven or Jewel, but visibility was limited due to thick fog. From the top of the Jewel, we could see that our skin track up the Milk had been completely erased by the wind.

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

Steady north and west winds up high and in channelized terrain. Inversion as high as 4500 feet.

Snow surface

New snow on ground, glacial ice, rain crust, or settled snow depending on elevation.


Storm snow depth of 10 inches at the Milk-Raven Pass, with a 6 foot total snow depth.