Observation: Girdwood

Location: Upper Girdwood Valley, Goat Mtn area

Route & General Observations

A few photos of the active north winds and a few wind slab avalanches, possibly releasing Wednesday Jan 8.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

Winds transporting snow on the high elevation peaks.

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

Sunny and cold! Minus single digits. Breezy north winds, plumes along ridgelines.

Snow surface

Very loose faceting surface to our high point at 3,100'. There is slight wind skin on the surface and some harder wind crust in exposed areas.
Surface hoar exists below 2,000' but not evident above this.


Dug two quick pits to look at the top few feet of snow.
Pit #1: 2,400', W, snow depth 110cm
No tests performed, focused on surface layers for future concerns for next storm. The pack is rotting out with cold temps. There is a 'crumbly' 2-4cm crust ~25cm below the surface is very thin and degrading. Very weak facets exists both above and below the crust.

Pit #2: 3,100', W, snow depth 235cm
ECTP 27, twice, on a 1-2cm layer of 1mm faceted snow that sits 50cm (20") below the surface. The block was very planar and slid easily off the block.
The top 8" or so was very loose and faceted and transitioned quickly to 1 finger and pencil hard slab above the weak layer.
We could not find any buried surface hoar and did find a very thin crust just 10 cm (4") below the weak layer. No weakness was found around this old thin crust.

Two fresh looking wind slab pictured below on the Goat shoulder look to have released somewhat recently, possibly with the uptick in winds on Wednesday.

Photos & Video
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