Observation: Girdwood

Location: Notch

Route & General Observations

Notch to 2300′

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

Small slabs that appeared to be 1-2' deep and small dry loose activity appeared to just incorporate yesterday's new snow. See photos below for activity on Notch's sunnyside, and for a small slab that pulled out under a cornice on an unsupported slope along the up-track in the past 24 hours. This activity seemed limited to slopes directly under cornices.

Impressive crowns seen on Mt. Alyeska... assumed the result of control work this am!

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

Temps in the 20s, broken skies when we managed to get above the clouds... but for much of the day overcast or obscured by valley fog in the 1000-2000' range. Brief period of light N winds at ridgeline midafternoon, but otherwise calm.

Snow surface

A thin crust at the parking lot, increasing in thickness until it was a fragile but 3cm thick melt freeze crust at 1300'. This surface crust goes away completely at 1500', where soft new snow from yesterday measured in at 14-18" to ridgeline. Ski penetration generally 8-14" above 1500'


See below for a pit in a wind loaded location, and for a photo of the structure at 1300'. Winds early in the week - particularly above 2200' - transported a lot of snow, with some very stout 1-2' tall drifts near ridgelines. In places with obvious wind affect from earlier in the week, 4-18" of new snow from yesterday was covering it up, though some neighboring ridgelines - as pictured below - had been blown clean of yesterday's snow.

Slabs on unsupported slopes below 2000' - without wind affect - were stubborn to break, and when they did they broke ~1' beyond ski tips, ~18-24" deep.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.