Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: The Nipple

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Springtime skiing in the South Fork Eagle River area. Started from trailhead, and ascended via Hunter Pass, ridge line, to “The Nipple”.

We were on the peak around 2:30pm, and nearby Arctic Valley’s station was reading 21F. The snow in the gully skied surprisingly well, a wet kind of powder as we were descending. I suspect the wind had loaded the gully with this weeks fresh snow, on top of a harder frozen layer that acted as the bed surface.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Wet Slab
Aspect North NortheastElevation 3400ft
Slope AngleunknownCrown Depth 20in
Width 70ftVertical Run 400ft
Avalanche Details

Snowboarder 1 started from The Nipple, riding along the ridge line and off a cornice which had been checked for instability on approach. Snowboarder 1 then entered the bowl and rode approximately 1000ft down slope and waited in a safe zone to spot Skier 1. Skier 1 followed a similar line, slightly higher, but at approximately 3400ft elevation triggered a medium sized soft wet slab avalanche. Snowboarder 1 called avalanche as Skier 1 turned hard skier’s right, to the safety of exposed ground on the spur. Partners consolidated in the safe zone at bottom of run and skied to South Fork Hiland Road trailhead.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Strong winds and temperature rise.

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

Wind coming from the South, sustained at 17mph on ridge, 30mph gusts. Sunny and warm in the trees.

Snow surface

Variable conditions on most of approach and ridge, however, in the bowl itself, wet powder.

Snowpack

No formal pit conducted.

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