Observation: Douglas Island

Location: Showboat skin track

Route & General Observations

I can’t write a poem like Brent, but my non-poetic report is that I went up the Showboat skin track. No signs of instability. Dug some hand pits and aside from the first 10cm sluffing, nothing to report. Went up to ~2k ft and dug a pit, then went up to the ridge and skied down. Snow was stable on the northern aspects. No instability observed on descent.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

There was some wind loading that I saw on my approach, and one of the chutes had sign of a semi-recent avalanche (snow debris hung up in the alders).

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

Light winds, but gusting to +20mph. Snow transfer observed. Initially winds were blowing north to south, then started changing directions. When I made the ridge it was consistent 20-30mph winds out of the north.

Snow surface

Settled powder with some wind effect.


Snow pack was 170cm deep, I dug my pit to ~150cm, past that point the ice was too thick. Slope where tests were conducted was ~30 degrees on a northern slope aspect. Observed a few separate layers from the last storm cycle while digging the pit. Ice layer at 100cm from the top.

CT23 @ 20cm down
ECTN26 @ 50cm down

These results were a bit odd given what others have been reporting, so I did a shovel shear test and with a lot of force I was able to pop the column at 100cm down where one of the ice layers was located.