Observation: Girdwood

Location: Glacier Gulch

Route & General Observations

We skinned up the Glacier Gulch drainage to about 4800′. Enjoyed clear skies and calm to light winds. We noticed a lot of wind transport at the ridgetops, with plumes of snow blowing off the ridge, and downslope winds actually triggering small loose avalanches on the steep terrain near the top of Goat mtn.

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

Clear skies all day, with some low, thin clouds threatening to move in periodically throughout the day. Winds were calm, with an occasional light breeze out of variable directions. We saw flagging off the ridges from easterly winds, and noticed downslope winds moving snow in the steep terrain above us. The air temp was cold (I never got the thermometer out), but the bountiful sun was keeping us warm.

Snow surface

3-5" low-density snow on top of a crust to 2000'. Slightly more snow on top of a 1F hard slab from 2000'-3500'. Thin, punchy wind skin above 3500'.


From a snowpit on a W aspect at 2300':

Total snow depth 7.5'
ECTN25 on a layer of decomposing stellars buried 1.5' deep. The snow above and below the layer of stellars was 1F to pencil hard.
New snow from last week was very dry and loose.

We started noticing a 1-2" thick wind skin above about 3500', which was giving us some shooting cracks. There was evidence of a very large avalanche from the 1/23 storm event, and a lot of smaller recent activity from the 1/28-1/29 snow. Most of the activity was natural, but it looked like some of the smaller avalanches may have been skier-triggered. With the exception of the large avalanche from 1/23, none of the recent avalanches looked like they would have been big enough to bury a person.

Photos & Video
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