Avalanche: Seward

Location: Tiehacker Mountain

Route & General Observations

We toured up Tiehacker Mountain to check out how the snowpack is warming up with warm temperatures, recent rain, and some sun today. It had frozen overnight to sea level, but just barely and it warmed up fast with above freezing temps and sun. There was snow on the trees above 1,500’ indicating it rained below this elevation during the storm this week. We saw quite a few loose snow avalanches, but no slabs. There were dry loose in the upper elevations and wet loose below about 3,000’. We triggered several wet loose avalanches on our ski down, which was challenging because of how wet the surface snow had become.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Wet Loose SnowAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

We triggered several wet loose avalanches during our descent on steep south and west facing test slopes.

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)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

We observed widespread recent loose snow avalanches both dry in the upper elevations and wet below 3,000'.

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

It was nice to see the sun today after several cloudy days. The temperature was in the upper 30’s F at the car and winds were calm.

Snow surface

There was a 2” breakable crust with moist snow below up to 1,000’. Once we climbed out of the trees the sun had warmed the surface so there was a little soft warm snow on top. The snow warmed throughout the day and by the time we headed down at 4:30pm it was very wet and mushy and difficult to ski.


We dug a pit at 2,240’ on a south aspect where the snow was 6’ deep (180cm). Our test results indicated that with a large amount of force an avalanche could be triggered on a layer about 1.5’ below the surface that was sitting on a thin 1cm crust (CT28 BRK, ECTP30). The more likely problem to encounter right now is a loose avalanche. Boot penetration was mostly ankle to shin with one hip deep, but I think that might have been near an alder. I suspect boot penetration would have been deeper on those slopes we triggered wet loose avalanches on our descent.

Photos & Video
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