January 9, 2016

Weekend Avalanche Outlook

Heightened avalanche conditions exist in Chugach State Park.  Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

The danger is expected to increase through Saturday; with strong winds, warm temperatures, and variable precipitation (rain and/or snow) stressing the snowpack.

The primary concern is for D2 or larger persistent slab avalanches in the upper elevations (above 2500′).  In the past week numerous large (D2+) natural and human triggered avalanches have been observed across Chugach State Park (Ptarmigan North, Ptarmigan West, Peak 4, Peak 3, Harp Mountain) that are presumed to have failed at faceted layers or interfaces between old wind slabs.  The current persistent slab situation is low probability, but high consequence (especially for casualty or fatality due to trauma).

The secondary concern is for smaller wind slab avalanches in the upper elevations.  Fresh wind slabs may form this weekend, primarily on leeward westerly aspects.