Observation: Girdwood

Location: Jewel Glacier, Girdwood Valley

Route & General Observations

Left Crow Pass TH with one partner at 10:30 am, 28F continuing on Crow Pass Trail on the direct mine route towards the stream crossing below Jewel Mountain.
Put skins on with previous tracks at 3,100 ft. and skinned up towards Jewel Glacier on a 3-5cm crust layer with non-condensed/sugar snow at 100-120cm deep up to 4,400 ft.
From 4,400 to Jewel Glacier headwall (5,000 ft), we encountered zero wind, temps ranging from 20-30F, and surface hoar over light, condensed 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?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

-Roller balls on southern facing aspects
-Glide Cracks within elevations of 3,000-3,500 with low snowpack, and Southern aspects

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

Melt/freeze Crust present from 3,100-4,000 ft

Surface Hoar present from 4,500-5,000 ft.

No new snow accumulation.


Depth: 140 cm
NW Aspect, 4,940 ft,
CT 14 Q2. 20cm from surface (2:45pm)
ECT18 Q2, 20 cm from surface (2:50pm)

No point releases observed on the uptrack and while skiing early in the day. However, from 1-4pm, all Southern aspects were releasing on Jewel Glacier and surrounding ridge lines within the valley. All southern aspects within Jewel Glacier, above the Bergshrund were point releases, with many wet slides and continual roller balls very visible.
Point releases were in a few cases, hundreds of feet which went onto the Glacier from up high. No rock release evident. Many of the slides were big enough to bury a person. D1-D2.

When we approached the col of the Jewel, we observed many SW facing glide cracks in the 3,000 ft range on the Milk Glacier.

Photos & Video
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