Detailed Observation

Date2019-03-16
LocationValdez
ObserverAnonymous
AvalancheN

General Observations

We skinned up part of the ridge leading to Little Odessey starting around 2:30 p.m. and remained pretty conservative in how far we planned to go, opting to stay within sight of the road. Heavy snow and wind made for poor visibility and flat light. We dug a pit at our turnaround point, on the ridge with a southwesterly aspect with less than 1,000 feet of gain from the road. Snowpack was about 125 cm at our deepest probe, 50 at our shallowest (likely due to presence of rocks and impact of wind over the ridge). Testing yielded an ECTN3, with 3-6 inches of storm snow collapsing onto a weak layer. 

We decided to follow our skin track, or at least stay close, on the descent. The first person to splitboard down lost the track in poor visibility and wind-blown snow and ended up farther left (south) than was planned. The splitboarder ended up launching off a small ledge. The second person to ski down was slower to descend and, warned by the first person about the ledge, decided to cut across the slope to where it was mellower, then slide down. 

Upon descent at about 4 p.m., the top layer of storm snow slid from under their skis down to the base of the slope, about 15-20 feet. The skier remained higher up on the slope, then skied down the bed surface (which consisted of the pre-storm snowpack) to the bottom. From there, both of us exited via the skin track. 

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