Thought I'd post my snow pack findings here. I skinned up the left side of the Tokle (sp?) creek drainage there at Arctic Valley up to the left side of the saddle. Trying to get out more and practice snowpack analysis as i'm taking a level 2 course this year. Dug a Rutschblock. Temp up there was 20 degrees or so, with a strong wind blowing up the drainage over the saddle into south fork drainage. Slope angle was 38 degreees. Snowpack depth to the ground was 100-105 cm. Block failed on 2nd hard jumb (RB5) and to me had a clean or average sheer (Q2). The failure was 85 cm down , on a hard crust layer with surface hoar as the weak layer. (There was a top layer failure about 10 cm down in the snowpack, which occured with me standing on top of the block <RB2>, but it was a broken shear and the whole piece did not fail and shear off; I wasn't impressed with it). The big failure 85 cm down was pretty impressive though. That was a wind loaded slope as well.
Practiced looking at the snow crystal type, but i still have some learning to do on recognition, so i won't comment on the other types of snow present in the pack. I didn't take snowpack temps.
Did a compression test as well to take a look at that layer. Very top failed (as above) failed with 4 taps of my hand (CT4), but seemed to crumble and was not a clean shear , while the bottom (85 cm down) failed at 15 from the elbow (CT15).
Newbie (have had a level 1 course) here practicing snow analysis skills, so take the info for what it's worth.
Brian, anyway to post a sticky at the top so other can post snowpack assessments throughout the winter?
Great information - thanks for sharing! I'll stick this thread and we can add to it as we get out.
been a while since i wanted to start this. got out to hatcher pass just over a week ago. great powder conditions. at around 3500 ft dug a snow pit. two crust layers about 30 cm down. that seems to be the most likely weak layer. dry snow on top. there were two crusts just centimeters above each other. it is that sandwiched layer that may cause some issues. natural avalanche activity noted, but old, but there were some big slides. test slope was at 32-34 degrees. CT 30. RB 7, with some earlier sloughing on RB 5. after the three jumps to get to RB7, the crust layer failed on the 5th jump that we did, with a shear of Q2. skiing was pretty good, except if you are heavy enough, you can occasionally crack through the crust layer. good skiing out there. plenty of tracks around to see where folks are headed.
When looking for snow pack amounts check out the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center website. During the summer this link changes to river flow conditions, but in the winter it lists snow depths around the state. You can click on any site and check our a graph of increasing/decreasing snow depth, and water content in the snow. By comparing depth to water content, and how fresh the snowfall is, you can get an idea of conditions.
This site has great information. Hopefully it can help keep the area a little safer.
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