Avalanche: Girdwood

Location: Notch

Route & General Observations

We toured up to Notch to make sure that it was actually snowing and blowing, and we weren’t disappointed. We saw heavy snow and strong winds with conditions picking up through the day and around 8″ snow on the ground by noon. We triggered a few small storm slab avalanches on short but steep rollovers.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Unknown
Elevation 1800ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 8inWidth 25ft
Vertical Run 10ft  
Avalanche Details

Small storm/wind slabs on short but steep terrain features.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

Shooting cracks on wind loaded slopes.

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

Steady rain up to 500' elevation on our way up, with strong winds as soon as we got out of the forest at around 1600'. Snow intensity picked up while we were out, and the rain line was down to around 300 feet on our way back down.

Snow surface

Strong winds made it hard to tell just how much it had snowed, but sheltered areas had around 8" new snow on the ground. Some places were scoured down to firm surfaces, others were loaded 18-24" deep.


We didn't dig pits today, but found easy shear failures in hand pits along the skin track on the way up. Test slopes had to be pretty steep to get slabs to fail, but slopes with tender wind slabs on the surface were more reactive. We triggered a few small wind/storm slabs while we were skiing, about 8-10" deep on average.

We'll be paying close attention to see how well this new snow sticks to the old snowpack, and keeping an eye on the facets that got buried earlier in the week.

Photos & Video
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