Avalanche: Juneau Mainland

Location: Sheep Creek

Route & General Observations

Hiked up the summer trail for a springy xc ski on the last vestiges of snow on the dog camp road and past the powerline pass trail into the alders towards the north face of Hawthorne. Rain crust omnipresent on the ski in, making things quite fast and almost too slippery for fish scales until the sun warmed things up a hair, with the shady areas remaining locked up. Per usual in the basin for springtime, fresh avalanche debris was evident in all the historical paths along Roberts & Sheep as well as this Hawthorne slide.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalAvalanche Type Wet Slab
Aspect NorthElevation 2700ft
Slope AngleunknownCrown Depthunknown
WidthunknownVertical Run 3000ft
Avalanche Details

The toe of the slide is about 15 minutes hike past the powerline pass trail intersection. The slide logged the sparse spruce forest in the mid-upper valley. Debris was fresh, likely triggered during Saturday's storming & warming. Difficult to assess the starting zone elevation due to deteriorating visibility but looked like an estimated ~2500-3000' above the basin before the visibility deteriorated with a 1.25mi runout, making the alpha angle somewhere below 25 degrees. The toe of the debris flow was apx 15-20' high and apx 700-800' wide and a number of 10" subalpine spruce were visibly logged by the slide. Difficult to pin an accurate rating on it with so little information but would call it WS-N-R5-D4. The relative size could be R4, either way it's certainly near the high end of what this path can produce. Impressive to say the least.

For reference the Hawthorne peak is at 4210', and upper Sheep ck basin lies around 1000'.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Wind was just starting to pick up from 5kts to 20kts in areas with visibility closing in on the ridgetops and the forecasted snow showers. Temps at the valley mouth were around freezing, dropping up valley.

Snow surface

a thin rain/meltfreeze crust on the surface made for fast travel on ski and foot.


none performed

Photos & Video
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