Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Hidden Lake near South fork of Campbell Creek (between Ramp and the Wedge)

Route & General Observations

We skinned up from the Powerline Pass trail and then followed the elevation contour along the southern side of O’Malley Peak to hills just below Hidden Lake. Completely calm winds on the way up with light snow falling at the back of the valley. Lots of extreme wind scour, hollow sounding snow, and small signs of instability under our feet along the way. Saw wolverine tracks! Very hard ski surfaces on the way down until we were in the hemlock band and then it was much softer snow.

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)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Further up slope from Powerline Pass trail, we were able to trigger small wind slabs on test slopes. Slabs were small (less than 4 sq feet) and ranged in height from 0.5 to 2 inches and did not run far due to low slope angle. Small cracks and one instance of whumphing were also evident away from our skis in these areas, but these red flags seems very localized behind tree or other features where wind loaded the snow. On larger, open slopes, we did not observe these red flags. Open slopes were rock hard and hollow sounding in places.

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

No evidence of new snow but clear signs of recent wind activity. Temperature warmer than we expected, probably around 15 F. Incredibly calm for the uphill portion of our day. Light winds began around 3 pm with some light snow that was present at both upper elevations and back down on the Powerline Pass trail.


We dug a pit at around 3,600 feet. A shovel shear test fairly easily moved the top 10 cm wind slab off the column, but an extended column test yielded no propagation at this or other layers further down. There was a softer layer 30 cm down that seemed to contain an old rain crust. We saw one small natural avalanche under a large cliff on a steeper slope, but did not investigate.

Photos & Video
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