Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Peak 2

Route & General Observations

Standard up track to Peak 2 to see how reactive the wind slabs were after the recent wind event and to monitor general trends in the area. The landscape was a lot of bare ground or wind-loaded snow surfaces. The parking area was plowed and sanded.

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

We got several shooting cracks on our tour. The shooting cracks were ~2'-6' long and ~2"-6" deep.

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

~32F at the car, scattered clouds for most of the tour with patches of blue skies, light breeze from the SW, no precipitation

Snow surface

The snow surface was (on brand for the Frange) wind-affected- a mixture of hard icy wind slabs, breakable wind layer, sastrugi, fresh tender wind slabs, or bare ground. Would recommend staying at the bottom of the gully on your way out, that was where the least amount of vegetation dodging was for us.


Overall, we were looking at a wind-scoured landscape- with lots of patches of bare ground, a predominately breakable "wind skin" layer, or an icy rock-hard snow surface. We were able to get shooting cracks on fresher wind slabs in steeper terrain, ~2-6' long, ~2-5" deep.

The snowpack structure was a 2"-5" wind skin layer on top of a thin layer of decomposing snow/near-surface facet mixture. Underneath those layers was a consolidated, hard layer of old wind slab, that due to the recent cold snap, has been slowly faceting.

We did at the end of the day notice some small sun effect on our ski turns. Moving forward, it is the time of year to start tracking surface conditions on southerly slopes as warm temperatures and solar radiation may start to form melt-freeze crusts.

We also noticed what appeared to be a glide crack that released on the backside of McHugh. It wasn't in a spot that gets a lot of traffic, but wanted to mention it because it's a rare sighting for the Front Range.

Photos & Video
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