Observation: Girdwood

Location: Notch

Route & General Observations

We toured up to about 2500′ on Notch Mtn, digging a pit on a NW aspect at 2380′. We found moist to wet snow at the surface up to around 1800′ on all aspects, with wetter snow as we dropped in elevation.

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

We were able to push small wet avalanches with ski cuts on the steepest convexities. These were sliding on firm older surfaces about 6-8" deep, and not propagating more than a few feet.

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

Cloudy skies, with light easterly winds picking up later in the day. Air temp was 28 F at 2400' at around 1:30 p.m., and probably in the high 30's about 1000' lower.

Snow surface

Surface snow was dry above 1800', with around 10" of soft snow sitting on firmer old surfaces. The snow got notably wetter as we dropped in elevation, and was sliding with ski cuts on some of the steepest convexities.


We found two layers of faceted snow in our pit at 2400'. Neither of these produced alarming stability test results (see notes below). The main concern was wet snow moving on an older firm surface at lower elevations. Today was the first day I had seen that on all aspects, and it felt quite warm as we were transitioning between laps on the cat track.

Notes from the pit (NW aspect, 2380')
Total snow depth: 385 cm
ECTN12 down 25 cm on a thin layer of facets on top of an old wind slab
ECTN24 down 40 cm on a thicker layer of rounding facets below a pencil-hard wind slab

Photos & Video
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