Avalanche: Portage / Placer

Location: Explorer Glacier

Route & General Observations

Deep trail breaking in a couple feet of new snow up the glacier to the saddle below Explorer Peak overlooking the Placer/Skookum Valley. One large crown on a small knob at the saddle that ran the width of the hill (a couple hundred feet) and upwards of six feet dep in wind loaded spots. Appeared to have failed mid storm as there was about a six inches to a foot of new snow on it. No other signs of instability. We skied one lap down the glacier (no sign of the moose), and went back up our skin track and across the bowl to access some steeper slops on the West side of the bowl. We easily traversed along the ridge to get to our desired line noting little to no sun affect at that time with settled powder. Upon ski cutting and a few turns, released an avalanche 12-18″ deep and 30 feet wide that ran quickly. Both skiers then descended bed surface to the bottom of the bowl.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect East Southeast
Elevation 2600ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 18inWidth 30ft
Vertical Run 500ft  
Avalanche Details

Skier 1 did a series of ski cuts coming down steeper East/Southeast facing slope. He noted a firmer crust about a foot or two below the surface from pole probing. Skier 1 Started to connect some more turns and did one more cut when slab broke at skier's feet. Skier was able to easily ski down and right off of the slab towards our pre-determined safe spot under a rock outcrop. Skier 2 descended and onto bed surface which was a harder sun crust. Both skiers easily skied down the bed surface to the bottom of the slope. Debris was not deep enough to fully bury a skier. Other skiers on the glacier happened to be filming out descent.

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

Calm and sunny

Snow surface

Settled powder. 2 feet of new snow.

Photos & Video
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