Observation: Girdwood

Location: Raggedtop

Route & General Observations

We toured up to around 2900′ and did a few laps in the trees. We stuck to conservative terrain after triggering soft slabs on a small test slope, and getting unstable test results in our snowpit at 2470′.

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 were able to get some small soft slabs to release on a test slope at around 1600'. The slabs were failing on a layer of stellars buried at the 1/6 interface.
We also saw debris from a recent cornice fall at around 3200'. Those cornices are starting to get large.

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

Mostly cloudy skies were trying to break open in the middle of the day, with a few periods of decent visibility. Winds were light to moderate out of the southeast, and we saw active transport throughout the day. Air temp was in the mid 20's F through the day. On and off snow showers left a trace of new snow through the day.

Snow surface

There was about 2' of new snow from the latest storm. We noticed a lot of wind-effect above 2500' (see photo), but the snow remained protected below 2500'. The skiing got better at lower elevations.


The layer of stellars buried on 1/6 was the weakest part of the pack. We were able to get this layer to fail on a small wind-loaded test slope, and we got an ECTP24 on the layer in the test pit. It looks quite similar to the weak layer involved with the 12/22 avalanche in Warm Up Bowl. We found the snow buried on 1/4 to be well-bonded, with very few facets mixed in with rounds. No surface hoar on that layer. We dug down to the 12/1 rain crust (now buried around 5' deep) and didn't see anything concerning- alternating crusts and clustered rounds, but very little to know faceting in that sandwich.
See snowpilot profile for more pit info.

Photos & Video
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