Observation: Girdwood

Location: Ragged Bowl

Route & General Observations

Ascended to 2700′ and found an upside down, thin, and weak snowpack. Test results showed propagation potential on buried surface hoar (BSH), facet/crust layers, and depth hoar on the ground.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

NW wind actively loading leeward slopes along ridgelines during tour.

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

Low valley fog in Girdwood Valley that broke up intermittently during the day to clear skies above.
Temperatures in the mid 20s.
Moderate winds along ridges. Light wind at treeline. Calm winds below treeline.
No precipitation.

Snow surface

Decomposing stellar dendrites below 2200'.

Above 2200' the wind has formed a mix of 2" wind crusts, supportable wind slabs, sastrugi, and scoured the snow down to the Jan. melt freeze crust (MFC) in areas.


The snowpack is thin, weak, and upside down. Below 1800' we got propagation in tests on BSH 0.5' down and facet/MFC layers 1'-1.5' down in the snowpack. Above 1800' we got propagation in tests down 1'-1.5' on facet/MFC layers and down 3' on the ground.

The old melt freeze and rain crusts down 1'-1.5' were breakable and decomposing up to 2300'. At 2700' the upper portions of the melt freeze and rain crusts were breakable, with a solid, knife hard foot thick section of crust near the ground.

Snow depths: 2' at 1300', close to 3' at 1800', variable at 0.5'-4' along ridgelines at 2450', 0.5'-3' at 2700' along ridgelines. I suspect the loaded NW aspect has deeper snow depths.

Photos & Video
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