Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Two Bowls, South Fork of Eagle River

Route & General Observations

Standard up track up Two Bowls to see what impact the outflow (winds from the north) had on the snowpack and to monitor persistent weak layers at higher elevations- with extra focus on the facets at the base of the snowpack.

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

There was a small (<D1) avalanche on the bowl directly NW of 2 Bowls. The avalanche appeared to be a wind slab caused naturally by a cornice fall from the ridge at ~4,350 feet.

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

Clear skies, temps between 23F-30F, no precip, occasional light breeze from the SE

Snow surface

The snow surface had a breakable (1-3cm) wind skin on most of our tour. Sastrugi was pronounced along the ridgetop and on highly wind-exposed areas.

On the majority of our ski down the breakable wind crust broke easily enough that you could have some pretty nice turns and access the powder underneath. However, there were a couple of surprise patches of either windboard or grabby crust where this was not the case, and the crust caught us off guard a little bit- but those patches were small and the bulk of the tour was nice snow.

Snow depth varied greatly on our tour from bare ground along the ridge to wind-deposited sections of over 8 feet.


We dug one snowpit. The information is below:

Location: Two Bowls
Elevation: 4,150'
Aspect: W
Slope: 32 degrees
Test results: ECTX, PST was 55/100 Arr on the basal facets layer

We found near-surface facets ~20 cm down from the snow surface. We found a thin, brittle melt-freeze crust ~30 cm down from the snow surface (with a thin layer of facets above the crust that we are monitoring). Neither of these layers had reactive test results, but we are watching these layers with persistent weak snow grains.

We also found facets at the base of the snowpack with developed facets/chained depth hoar. We did get PST 55/100 Arr on this layer.

We are continuing to see more of the same trend in the Front Range right now- poor structure, fair to good stability, and low propagation propensity.

Photos & Video
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