Eastern Alaska Range (Deltas)

Eastern Alaska Range Snow Observations

A small fraction of terrain frequented by backcountry travelers has a professional avalanche forecast available. For this reason, the Alaska Avalanche Information Center encourages users to share what they see.Deltas mapThe Delta Range (Eastern Alaskan Range) accessed from the Richardson Highway between Paxson and Donnelly Dome is a fantastic winter playground.

This is a data-sparse area; shared observations create an ongoing history of snow and weather that can help recreationists plan and prepare for success in the backcountry. 

Please contribute your avalanche, snow and weather observations in the comments below or on the EARAC Facebook page!

Any contribution is a good contribution! Simply sharing a photo from your trip gives other users useful information. How was the snow? Was there a fresh dump? If so, how much? Where were you when you took the photo or swam around is waist deep pow?

Any information helps other users be more informed, able to make better decisions, and ultimately stay safe.

natalie ski summit lake
snowmachines near summit lake

If you have suggestions for links or improvements to this page, please email contactearac@gmail.com

Area Links
Other helpful links:
Slope Angle Maps creates a map like this to help you recognize avalanche terrain and plan routes. The slope angles are averages – ground truthing and cross referencing is still necessary.



Recent Observations from the EARAC Facebook Feed:

Went to the College Glacier over the weekend. Immediately noticed alot of naturally caused avalanches on all aspects on…

Posted by Paul Wilcox on Sunday, 27 March 2016

Observations from McCallum Creek 3/20 12:00pmSkied up McCallum Creek road to just before the hairpin turn, much less…

Posted by Eric Torvinen on Monday, 21 March 2016

17March, terminous of the castner glacier, 2500 ft, North aspect, 30 degee slope.30 cm new snow on 15 cm of large…

Posted by Sam Palmer on Thursday, 17 March 2016

41 thoughts on “Eastern Alaska Range (Deltas)

  1. March 17-20, 2016 AIARE Avalanche Level 2 Course Black Rapids Lodge Experimental Avalanche forecast and observations for the Eastern Alaska Range for Monday, March 21, 2016:
    A CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on all aspects above treeline. Human triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches are possible. A variety of avalanche problems exist, including wind slabs on slopes greater than 30˚ and on all aspects due to wind variability. Wet loose snow avalanches are almost certain near rocky outcrops and on unsupported convexities, especially on Southern aspects. Recent wind blown cornices are also possible on ridge lines and near gullies. A MODERATE avalanche danger exists below treeline. The main avalanche problems below treeline are storm slabs 8-12” thick in wind protected areas, and wet loose snow avalanches possible on slopes greater than 30˚. If you plan to head into the Eastern Alaska Range or surrounding areas, cautious route-finding, and careful snowpack assessment will be necessary.
    Observations: Evidence of unstable snowpack is present. Observations include recent avalanche activity on various aspects, as well as lots of whumphing and shooting cracks. Many snow pits and stability tests confirm this widespread instability at the new snow old snow interface. An average of 8-12” of new snow was distributed by Northern winds in areas North of Rainbow Ridge between March 16 – March 19, 2016. Warming trends may continue to deteriorate conditions further.
    Observations and forecasts were made by participants in the recent AIARE Level 2 course at Black Rapids, special thanks to Klara Maisch. Photos: Natural D2 wet avalanche above Michael Creek.Snow profile work south of Trims Creek, investigating new storm snow interface. Remote triggered by two skiers 50m away: windslab avalanche. Fresh wind affected storm snow was sensitive to human trigger. Propagation saw test at March 16-19 storm snow interface. Overnight snow at Lodge March 19, 12cm, making storm total 39cm. Please see Charlie Parr’s avatech profile

  2. March 11-13, 2016 Black Rapids Lodge AIARE Level 1 course
    Spring-like weather in the Eastern Alaska Range. Skies were clear, save for a fast moving squall that passed through the area Friday (some snowflakes, but no accumulation). Daytime temps rose to 25F with nighttime lows near 10F. Light variable wind.

    We saw evidence of some older windslab avalanches to D2. Of note were two snowmachine triggered windslab avalanches on the north side of Isabel Knoll and a moose triggered D1 windslab on a south aspect up McCallum Creek.
    We had some whumphing on hard windslab near ridgelines. One of our tests showed sudden collapse in facets down 15cm on a NNE aspect at 3500’, 30 degree slope, CT15 between two windslab layers. Some windslab had facet chains to 3mm beneath. We dug on multiple aspects finding average height of snow 70-85cm.

    Many wet loose avalanches on southern aspects over 40 degrees 25 degrees.

    Surface hoar to 3mm and smaller near surface facets were prevalent in wind protected areas.

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