Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Ptarmigan West Face

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Toured up standard route to the West Ridge of Ptarmigan. Skinned until around 4400′ and then stopped to transition to booting. While transitioning we decided to dig a quick pit. Didn’t like what the pit said so we decided to bail & seek out something more mellow.

Dug a pit around 4400′ on a West facing slope right at the point where the route up the west ridge enters the rock bands. ¬†ETC11 with a clean shear about 2.5′ down. ¬†Probably same persistent slab responsible for recent ave on Peak 4

 

 

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

There was a debris pile from an avalanche that occurred before the last snow. Couldn't see the crown but assume that it came off one of the gullies up high on the West face. While skinning up we had small collapses when skiing on far (skiers left) side of the gully where the snowpack was thinner.

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

Gentle winds in the morning and steadily increasing to mid 20s by mid afternoon. Temps in the mid/upper 20s.

Snow surface

Lots of wind-affected snow found in open areas near Ptarmigan Pass. As we got closer to the shielded west face we found ~6" of powder on top of a firm base.

Snowpack

Present in some areas was a thin wind crust on top of the storm snow. Not enough to be worrisome where we were - but probably thicker and more reactive at higher elevations.

Dug a pit around 4400' on a West facing slope right at the point where the route up the west ridge enters the rock bands. ETC11 with a clean shear about 2.5' down. Probably same persistent slab responsible for recent ave on Peak 4 in the Front Range.

Photos & Video
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