March 9, 2016


Front Range – Avalanche Mountain, The Wedge, Ptarmigan

Red flags (obvious signs of instability):

  • Natural wet loose avalanches on solar aspects starting primarily as point releases from rocks by afternoon


  • Mostly cloudy becoming mostly sunny by midday with calm to light southerly breeze and alpine temps in the upper 20s

Surface conditions:

  • Generally firm and supportable, wind-packed base with a few cm’s of fresher, loose snow on top
  • Upper elevation leeward terrain had at least several cm’s of fresher, loose snow on top: firmer in less sheltered areas but sun and warmth softening by afternoon made for nice, creamy turns; sheltered north facing terrain with boot-top to knee-deep sluffy, loose snow


  • Numerous hand pits throughout the day on steep northerly terrain revealed a generally well bonded upper snowpack with moderate to hard shears and uneven (Q3) fracture planes.  Low volume, moderate speed sluffing on steep northerly terrain.  Medium volume, slow moving sluff on steep solar aspects by afternoon.

Upper Ship Creek Valley from South Ship Lake Pass:FullSizeRender-17

Indian Creek and Turnagain Arm from the summit of Avalanche Mountain:FullSizeRender-18

Looking towards Powerline Valley from the top of The Wedge:wedge view

Looking towards Anchorage from the top of The Wedge:FullSizeRender-16

Powerline Valley from Ptarmigan saddle:FullSizeRender-19

Rabbit Creek Valley from Ptarmigan saddle:FullSizeRender-20