Observation: Girdwood

Location: Goat Mtn.

Route & General Observations

We skinned up to 4900′, digging pits on W and SW aspects at 2400′, and on a NW aspect at 4800′. Skies were clear, winds calm, and it was chilly! Sure was nice to soak up the sun.

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

Clear skies, with temps in the low single digits F at the trailhead at 10:00. Temps warmed to the mid-teens F at mid- to upper elevations through the day. Brief periods of light winds were moving some snow around near ridgetops. Valley clouds stuck around all day.

Snow surface

Variable. Some surfaces had been lightly touched by recent winds, and still harbored 6-10" soft snow, while others had been scoured to the point it was hard to walk on without loosing your footing. Snow was consistently soft below alder line.


We found the 12/1 crust to be holding strong at 2400', with hardly any faceting and still pencil to knife hard. With calm to light winds for the past few days, wind slabs were stubborn, but we were still careful around steep terrain near ridgelines.

Snow depth increased dramatically with elevation (and previous wind exposure). Here are some average depths measured at several elevations through the day:
2000': 90 cm (~3') deep
2400': 180 cm (~6' deep)
2600': 210 cm (~7' deep)
4800': 365 cm (12' deep). *this location has likely seen some wind loading this season.

We dug a third pit on a NW aspect at 4800'. We only dug down about 3' deep, and the upper pack was looking strong. The snow gradually changed from 4-finger to pencil-hard with depth, an we did not get any unstable test results (ECTN21 about a foot deep, below an old wind slab).

More details from the snow pit at 2400' in the photos.

Photos & Video
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