Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: South Fork Eagle River Harp Mountain/Hanging Valley

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Toured from parking lot at Harp Mountain into hanging valley on east side of South Fork Eagle River Valley. Dug a pit at ~3400′ on south aspect in the upper basin of the hanging valley. Test results were ECT P 24 & 27 with a Q1 sudden planar fracture on faceted layer beneath dense wind slab about 40-50cm down. The total snowpack depth in our location was ~250cm (cross loaded area on lower apron of S face).

We bailed on that route after the test results and toured into the upper basin underneath the steep north facing terrain. As we were approaching the upper end of the basin at 4000′ a natural avalanche released at about 5000′ on a NW aspect. There was no apparent wind loading and no sun effect on the face when the avalanche released. The slab was on a steep bench between cliff faces. We were a decent ways away but I would guess it was ~ D1.5.

On our route out, about 5 minutes skin from the car, we came upon a debris field that had covered our tracks from the morning. The slab released at ~3000′ on the west aspect of the ridgeline leading up to Harp Mountain from the parking area. It looked like there were ski tracks along the ridge that might have triggered or remote triggered the slide. The crown looked to be several feet deep and maybe 100 ft wide, but we did not climb the slope to have a close look. We did a quick beacon search of the debris with no signals found, but we triggered some whumphs while doing the search and decided to leave the area. This second avalanche was a D 2 or 2.5.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Hard Slab
Aspect WestElevation 3000ft
Slope AngleunknownCrown Depth 24in
Width 100ftVertical Run 1000ft
Avalanche Details

(Copied from general route description)

As we were approaching the upper end of the basin at 4000' a natural avalanche released at about 5000' on a NW aspect. There was no apparent wind loading and no sun effect on the face when the avalanche released. The slab was on a steep bench between cliff faces. We were a decent ways away but I would guess it was ~ D1.5.

On our route out, about 5 minutes skin from the car, we came upon a debris field that had covered our tracks from the morning. The slab released at ~3000' on the west aspect of the ridgeline leading up to Harp Mountain from the parking area. It looked like there were ski tracks along the ridge that might have triggered or remote triggered the slide. The crown looked to be several feet deep and maybe 100 ft wide, but we did not climb the slope to have a close look. We did a quick beacon search of the debris with no signals found, but we triggered some whumphs while doing the search and decided to leave the area. This second avalanche was a D 2 or 2.5.

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

See avalanche details and general route description.

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

Some wind transport on upper ridgelines

Snow surface

Mostly settled powder. Some areas with variable wind effects on the surface.

Snowpack

Snow pack depth was highly variable. Ranging from 250 in a wind loaded area where we dug a pit to 50cm on upper elevation shaded terrain.

Photos & Video
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