February 18, 2015

Observations: South Fork Eagle River

Public observations from Hiland Road – Harp area

  • Recent avalanche activity: several cornice breaks from wind loading event(s) on N, NE, NW aspects.  We heard several instances of smaller whoomphing, observed shooting cracks up to 6ft in length.

Harp’s ridge was firm, thin, and variable.  From the ridge to bottom of the bowl was chalky up high with obvious windloading on the N/NW aspect.  It was a firm, supportable slab.  Hollow-sounding in one location.  The remainder of the run was mildly variable with thin/variable conditions outside the gully.

Skinning up the bowl to the north of that drainage we found variable snow with the majority being windslab 2-6″ thick on top, mostly supportable, cracking around the skis on thinner slab.  Under this slab was about 1′ to 2′ of facets and depth hoar down to the tundra: non-cohesive, loose, no obvious layers.  The facet and depth hoar grain size increased near the ground.  This bowl is where we heard several instances of whoomphing.  At higher elevations we noticed some surface hoar.

The next bowl we skied down and out contained highly variable snow conditions with varying degrees of coverage.

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