Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: Swiss/French Bowls

Route & General Observations

Several laps on east, north, and west aspects of Swiss and French Bowls

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type GlideAspect North Northwest
Elevation 2500ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

A large glide released to the east of Temptation Peak in the Ship Creek drainage at the tail end of last week's storm - see photos below.

Some additional cracks (~10) were present throughout South Fork and Ship Creek valleys that have yet to release.

Numerous small slabs (D1 - 1.5) that looked to be at the new/old snow interface released at the end of last week's storm, and were present on upper elevation, steep, south to west aspects. While all fairly high in elevation, some released well below ridgeline, particularly on the south aspect behind North Bowl. Ski tracks today just adjacent to these slides produced no new avalanches - see photo below.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

One small whumph at ridgeline in a place where rocks had just been buried - ski pole probes revealed a lot of spatial variability at this location.

One instance of cracking directly below a small cornice, with cracks extending just ~10' and only a few inches deep. This was a location where you'd usually expect to find way worse of a result!

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

Temps in the teens... brrr in the shadows!
Varied sky cover, ranging from broken -> few clouds, changing throughout the day.
Occasional light north winds at ridgeline.

Snow surface

WOW - 18" of new snow from late last week, from trailhead elevation to near ridgelines. At ridges, slightly less new snow was present, but still 9+" of soft snow. No obvious wind transport or wind affect since this snow fell, with the exception of a slightly wind affected surface on a N ridge going up French Bowl. Ski penetration of 10-12" consistently across the route, with no observed sluffing even on steeper features despite the low density snow.


No formal tests. Below 2500' ski pole probing revealed a soft and right side up snowpack over a stout, unbreakable crust. An exception was between 2500' and 3200' on a north aspect in French Bowl, where ski pole probes could easily break through a thinner crust to a softer thin layer of facets (~2-4") sitting on a stout crust. Quick hand pits - dug with a ski pole as they were 50+cm deep! - over this crust/facet combo revealed no slab characteristic in the new snow above these facets.

Photos & Video
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