Observation: Girdwood

Location: North Face of Ragged Top

Route & General Observations

I booted up a couloir on the north face of Ragged via Crow Creek trail head. I rode from about 4600′. The riding in the couloir was characterized by punchy wind crust, multiple narrow pinches, and rocks poking through the snow surface here and there. There was some debris in the apron that appeared to be quite old (more than a week).

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

calm and cold

Snow surface

variable. mostly wind crust ranging from 1"-4" in thickness. Some powdery pockets along the walls of the couloir.


At around 3000' at the bottom of the apron there was only about 6"-12" of snow that had collected in gullies and many exposed rocks due to the wind in days previous. Looking further up Crow Pass trail I could see the slopes on either side of the creek were very wind scoured. The wind had stripped the snow down to rock in many places. I dug a pit at around 4000' about 2/3rds of the way up the couloir. I performed two column tests. My results were CT14 Q3 and CT16 Q3. There was maybe 30" on the ground and the failure occurred between 1 finger hardness snow sitting on fist hardness snow about 10" beneath the surface. The failure was very low energy. The 4" thick wind slab on the surface seemed well bonded.