Observation: Summit

Location: Fresno to 2700'

Route & General Observations

Skinned up SE aspect of Fresno Ridge to 2700′. We observed 4 recent avalanche on all on E or SE aspects. One on the primary drainage on the East face of Fresno facing the Road and three others on Colorado Peak. These were all hard wind slabs that released to the ground on basal facets. These likely occurred in the last two days due to the strong NW winds that have impacted the Kenai Mountains.

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
Observer Comments

4 recent avalanche on E and SE aspects in Summit Lake, Colorado Peak and Fresno
One newish looking natural avalanche on the South facing aspect across the street from Twin Peaks along the Seward Hwy and another recent slide on an E aspect near Hope Wye.

Shooting crack (2-4' long) were observed within the top 2-4" of surface snow recently wind stiffened, all in the alpine above 2500', above the treeline.

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

-10F at road and around 0F in the alpine
Clear and sunny
No recent precip
Winds were calm

Snow surface

Below 2000' - loose settled snow with places where recent winds have eroded the surface, but still very soft with a slight wind skin in places.

Above 2000' - loose snow in protected areas and in places exposed to recent winds, snow surface had a 1-4" wind slab.


The snowpack on Fresno is very thin!

Below 2000' the average height of snow was around 15" and gradually became 20" with elevation. In every hand pit there were 6-10" of basal facets on the ground, depth hoar (~3-4mm) was found in shallower places. There was some variability in the mid pack layers above 1500' where a breakable wind crust was present in places. In other places it was loose snow all the way to the ground. Very punchy and inconsistent. The slab was mostly loose snow and not connected in this elevation band.

In the alpine the depths varied from 1'-3' where winds have impacted and drifted snow over several wind events this season. The most recent wind event being yesterday (1/18) through this morning (1/19.) Many North ridges are scoured southern ridges seemed more loaded than usual. Fresno ridge for example is normally scoured, but right now it is mostly covered.

Pit at 2700', SE aspect near Fresno Ridge, HS = 33" (85cm) 39* slope. See photo diagram below snow pack structure.
All tests failed on basal facet layer near ground. CT14, ECTP17, ECT18, PST 30/100 End.

Photos & Video
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