Observation: Girdwood

Location: Max's

Route & General Observations

Skinned up the Virgin Creek Trailhead to the South Face of Max’s.

Observed two glide cracks forming on the South face of Max’s at 2,700′.

Also took note of two previously released glide crack avalanches across the Girdwood valley on the mid slopes of Raggedtop at approximately 3,000′.

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

09:30AM-Virgin Creek Trailhead-350'- 14°F-Skies obscured by valley fog, clear above. Winds calm. No precipitation.

12:00PM-3,000' Max's South Aspect-18°F-Clear skies above valley fog. Winds light ~3-5mph N/NW, No precipitation.

2:30PM-Virgin Creek Trailhead-350'-16°F-Skies obscured by valley fog, clear above. Winds calm. No precipitation.

Snow surface

Snow conditions varied from hiker/skier compacted crusty snow/ice below tree line that made for difficult skinning, to pockets of soft, loud pow and very thin (1-2cm) wind crust. Signs of previous wind transport were noticed above tree line but soft powder was still prevalent making for good skiing.


Dug two pits, overall snowpack appeared upright, with fair to good structure, good strength, no propagation propensity, overall stability was good.

First pit was at 2800', West aspect, 34° slope angle, HS 235cm, CT11 Non-Planar Q3, 20cm down on density change from Fist to 4 Finger 1mm rounds.

Second pit was at 3,000', SW aspect, 22° slope angle, HS 220cm, ECTN28 and CT25 Non-Planar Q3, on the same layer 30cm below surface on faceting rounds.

Layer of most concern looking forward was a layer of Near Surface Facets sitting just below a 1-2cm thin wind-crust at the surface.

Photos & Video
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