Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Hanging Valley

Route & General Observations

Dug a quick test pit before ascending, then our group skied three chutes from ~5500′ in Hanging Valley without incident.
The directly north facing chutes had little to no wind impact, with great riding conditions. Hand shears along the ascent showed no signs of instability. Sluffs ran far in steep terrain.
The more north-westerly line at the head of the valley held wind affected snow with a large loaded wind pillow at the very top. After popping a few hand shears with high energy near the top, we descended just shy of the pillow.

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

Light to moderate winds with light flagging on ridge tops. Skies: few to scattered clouds throughout the day.
Sun heating up East to South aspects.

Snow surface

Lower elevations had a stout sun crust. Moving into higher elevations and/or shaded aspects, we found dry surface snow with ski pen of ~7cm.
Thin layer of surface hoar observed on snow surface up to ~4000'.

South and East aspects showed obvious signs of solar impact, with plentiful point releases around rock bands.


Test pit: North aspect @ 3700', 20 degrees, HS 270cm

Good structure:
Fist hardness to 20cm down
4 Finger hardness 20cm - 45cm down
1 Finger hardness 45cm - 100 cm down