Observation: Seward

Location: Lost Lake

Route & General Observations

We rode up Snug Harbor to the Lost Lake zone north of Mount Ascension and south of Mount Adair. It was windy up high and in a few places along the way, but there were some sheltered areas with good snow conditions. We saw a few recent avalanches both glide and wind slab and even one very recently triggered by a goat! The goat was still in the area and doing just fine. The main concern we have is wind slab from the active north wind event, which in some places in landing on about 1’ of weak snow (near surface facets).

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

We observed active wind loading from the north that began yesterday, January 31. We observed a few recent glide avalanches on southeast facing slopes at about 2,500’. We also saw several new small (D1) wind slab avalanches on southern aspects. There was one old avalanche on a south aspect that looked larger (D2).

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

It was a beautiful day, cold (-10F at parking lot), clear, and windy from the north.

Snow surface

Surface conditions varied as we travelled. There was about 4” of new snow in the parking lot at Snug Harbor Road and 6-8” of new snow in sheltered areas of the valleys. Many surfaces had some sort of wind effect, but it was a mix of soft sastrugi, firm sastrugi, crust, and smooth pillows.


We dug a pit at 2,200’ on a southwest aspect. The snowpack was about 5.5’ deep (170cm). We did not get any concerning results (CT1 Q3 down 5cm, CT13 down 15cm, CT20 down 27cm, ECTN2). These results were all within the top layers of snow that weren’t well bonded to each other and there was no slab present. What is concerning is the layer of weak snow (1’ of near surface facets) that is just below the new snow from Monday’s storm. This layer is not a problem when there is no slab above, but once it gets a load of new snow and a slab it will likely be a problem for a while. There was active wind loading from the north that began yesterday so this layer of weak snow is getting buried in places.

Photos & Video
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