Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: False Peak, Glen Alps Recreation Area

Route & General Observations

Standard up track to False Peak. The landscape was a lot of bare ground or wind-loaded snow surfaces. Our goal of the day was to test the stability of wind loaded start zones at upper elevations.

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

We were able to get shooting cracks on test slopes and in wind-loaded pockets ~2-6" deep.

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

Broken skies with patches of sunlight, breeze from the north at lower elevations and moderate to strong gusts at upper elevations, no precipitation.

Snow surface

The snow surface was wind-loaded- a mixture of hard icy wind slabs, sastrugi, fresh tender wind slabs, or bare ground. We saw flagging and active transport along ridges. Coverage was thin at lower elevations off main trails. Expect to jump from snow patch to snow patch and dodge some bushes and tundra on your descent.


I could not see any snow on our tour that had not been affected by the wind- the landscape was either bare ground or wind-loaded snow surfaces.

We dug two snow pits- one at the base of the gully on False Peak. The first pit we dug was 70 cm deep and all pencil hard wind slab. Similar to what we found in our Peak 3 snowpit, this snowpit had no reactive pit results and a consistent cohesive hard icy base. The second pit we dug was in a fresh wind-loaded pocket at a higher elevation. We were able to get ECTPV between the wind slab and the decomposing new snow underneath (~27 cm down from the snow surface). Our second snow pit also had a concerning structure, an "upside down" snowpack with a fist-hard ~2-4mm depth hoar at the base of the snowpack.

More info on the second snow pit below:

Location: False Peak
Elevation: 3,725'
Aspect: S
Slope: 29 degrees
Test Results: ECTPV on the interface between the wind slab and decomposing snow ~27 cm down (poor structure, poor stability, and high propagation propensity)

Going into this weekend- pockets of snow with active wind loading are going to be your biggest concern.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.