Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: South Fork of Eagle River

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

We went out to the South Fork of Eagle River to monitor general trends at higher elevations in the snowpack. Toured up past Hunter Pass and dug a pit in one of the gullies between Hunter Pass and Little Teton. The landscape was a lot of bare ground or wind-loaded snow surfaces. The South Fork Valley Trailhead parking lot had about ~1′ of mushy sloppy snow in the parking lot entrance that was tough to get through without a little speed and a little clearance.

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 a few small isolated shooting cracks ~2-3' long and ~2"-5" deep

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

~40F most of the day, overcast skies, light to moderate wind from the SE, no precipitation

Snow surface

Below the treeline, the snow was soft and creamy. Above the treeline, the snow surface was predominately a breakable wind layer with patches of windboard and sastrugi.

Snowpack

As on-brand for the Front Range- we have a severely wind-scoured landscape- lots of bare ground and wind-loaded gullies.

The snowpack structure had a thinner breakable wind layer on top of near-surface facets, followed by another wind layer and facets underneath that layer. We got ECTP25 on the second upper facet layer (roughly ~13" down from the snow surface). The remainder of the snowpack was mostly wind-affected snow intermixed with facet layers, with depth hoar and advanced facets at the base. Similar to last week, the snowpack contained a lot of moisture and was showing signs of rounding.

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.

There is a storm in the forecast for later this week and weekend, curious to see how the next round of loading events affects the snowpack.

Photos & Video
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