Observation: Seward

Location: Mount Alice

Route & General Observations

We toured up to about 2,500’ on Mount Alice. It was impressive how much snow was blown away from the mountain during the wind event that occurred from the morning of December 4 through this morning December 7. A good portion of the west facing slope we were traveling was bare. The new storm came in fast today and the main concern will be how well the new snow will bond to the existing surface which is really firm.

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, calm wind, partly cloudy, and 20 degrees when we started at 10:30am. The clouds approached from the south as we climbed to the alpine and by 1:00pm it was snowing and visibility dropped. There was 2” of snow on the car when we returned at 3:30pm and the temp was 23 degrees.

Snow surface

There was no snow up to about 1,200’, and by 1,500’ there was 2’ of snow that was faceting at the surface. At 1,550’ we were climbing out of the trees into the alders and there was wind effect evident with supportable 1” thick wind slab that was smooth in places and had sastrugi in other places. Above 2,000’ there were many patches of bare ground which should have been covered in at least 2’ of snow from the November 29-30 storm. The snow above 2,000’ was wind slab that was smooth in places and had sastrugi in others.


We dug a pit at 2,500’ on a south aspect that was 20 degrees. It was 4’ deep in the location that we dug, which was very close to many patches of bare ground. The Thanksgiving rain crust was 2’ below the surface and was 6” thick with pencil hard melt-freeze grains below. We did not get any unstable results on that layer. We got a CT18 that was 6” below the surface on a hardness change within the wind effected snow. We did not get results on our ECT. We will be looking to see how the new snow from today and this evening bonds to the smooth surface that currently exists.

Photos & Video
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