December 30, 2015

Weather & Avalanche Update

Extreme strong winds, warm temperatures, and rain this week have created areas with dangerous avalanche conditions in Chugach State Park.  These areas exist mainly in the upper elevations (above 2500′): near peaks, along ridges and cross-loaded gully sidewalls, and around other wind-loaded terrain features.  Dangerous areas may be recognized by areas of deeper, wind drifted snow with a bulbous, pillowy, or fat appearance.  Hollow sounding and/or feeling snow, with looser and weaker snow overlying harder, denser snow may also indicate a dangerous, wind-loaded area.  Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making will be essential for navigating through the mountains safely and avoiding potentially dangerous areas created by the recent weather event.

Also be alert for areas of dangerous wet snow from warm temperatures and/or rain.  This will be more of an issue in the mid elevations (below 2500′).

While the snowpack is still thin throughout Chugach State Park, and large avalanches aren’t as much of a concern as smaller and seemingly insignificant ones, keep in mind exposure and the consequences of a small slide just knocking you off your feet.  Might you get hurt, trundled through rocks and vegetation, or pushed into rocks or off a cliff?

For statewide avalanche conditions stay tuned to

Happy 2016!