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Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: McHugh North ridge near summer trail

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Toured W aspect of McHugh Peak to 3100′ on north shoulder and summer trail.

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)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Ridge top pluming observed in morning due to northerly winds. Fresh, soft and touchy windslabs encountered on leeward aspects. Shooting cracks observed in these wind slabs on test slopes and able to easily trigger D-0.5 windslabs on these small test slopes on southerly aspects.

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

Clear skies. Temps in mid teens. N wind estimated at 20+mph (based on arctic valley weather station) and large wind pluming noted along ridgelines in morning. By 5 pm, wind was calm to light out of the north.

Snow surface

Variable conditions along W aspect uptrack. Below alderline, 6" of soft, wind deposited snow sat on a supportable melt freeze crust with basal facets and depth hoar sitting below. Isolated pockets of fresh windslabs on leeward aspects from morning winds were present. HS along up track and below 2300' (alder line) varied from 1'-3' deep with basal facets comprising roughly 40% of snow pack. Above 2300', most west aspects were wind scoured down the stout crust/ground with intermittent pockets of wind deposited snow.

Snowpack

Pole probes consistently showed upside down snowpack with denser wind deposited snow and crusts sitting on basal facets. Hand pits varied from unreactive to failure upon isolation on slab/basal facet interface. Wind loaded test slopes proved touchy, with both shooting cracks and small slides when stomped on (see photo). No formal pits were dug.

Photos & Video
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