Route: Various high points around the Girdwood valley over a series of days.
Weather: Clear skies, light East winds, nil precip. No Valley fog, either.
Observed signs of instability:
Recent natural avalanche on the NW shoulder of goat mountain (outlined in red in attached photos). It was a
large avalanche, estimated to be D3 in size, and likely a hard slab. The crown was clearly visible from our
vantage many miles away, which means it was probably very high. The odd thing about this avalanche is that
we could discern no ready trigger. It appeared to have occured within the last 24 hours and was not located
under any cornice, so there were no obvious natural triggers. The slide originated at the 5700 foot level and
ran 3000 horizontal feet into the glacial basin at 4600 feet.
There were no other observed signs of instability over the course of our tours.
Surface conditons: 5000 feet to 3500 feet: Mostly windslab with a few cm of light density snow on top.
3500 feet to snowline: A mix of near surface facets and windslab, all coated with
6mm surface hoar. There are enough rocks to recognize where the slabs are,
and we practiced hardslab avoidance with this in mind.
Snowpack observations: 5000 to 3500: highly variable, discontinuous windslab over facets.
3500 feet to treeline: Strong round-crust mix overlain by 1F rounds, capped by
growing surface hoar (currently ~ 6mm). Also spatially variable.