Lake Louise Area Trails Report From The Wolf Pack – 29-Mar-2017.

Trail Reports Provided By : The WolfPack – Lake Louise Snowmachine Club. Avalanche Report: CNFAIC

Good morning,

Here is a current trail report for the Lake Louise area, March 29, 2017.

The weather has steadily been getting warmer sense the past weekend. Lows have been mid 20’s over night and 35 to 40 by late afternoon. Even though Anchorage experienced another winter storm Lake Louise has been having blue skies and mild temps.

The groomed trails are holding up but getting very soft by mid afternoon. If moving freight or heavy loads, plan to do so in the early morning and hold off when the trail gets soft in the afternoon.

The Tolsona, Big Rock , Crosswind loop has been groomed sense the Spring Fun Run last weekend.

Mendeltna Trail will be groomed before a Pizza Run to Mendeltna Lodge this Friday. Everyone is welcome join in. Leaving Lake Louise Lodge 11:00 am on Friday.

Moore Trail was groomed Mar. 23rd . Access is from the Trail head on Lake Susitna. Making the loop back to Lake Louise is not really possible because the Eureka Trail is pretty much impassible at Mile 12, with a 400 yard section of deep over flow on the creek.

The Cindy Trail to the Big Bay is still an nice ride but use caution when crossing Tolsona Creek, over flow is beginning to show up on the creeks.

Trails Groomed

 Mar.15th groomed Tolsona Trail

Mar. 29th groomed Mendeltna Trail

Mar. 23rd groomed Eureka / Moore Lake Trail

Mar.29th Tolsona, Big Rock, Crosswind

Mar. 27th groomed Winter Lake trail

Mar.7th groomed Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West /Big Bay /Crosswind trail, Loop

Comments:

 We will continue to groom all the trails as long as adequate snow remains.  Please be kind to the trails when using them, the base is thin and fragile.

Haul your freight and heavy loads in the mornings when the trails are hard and avoid doing it in the afternoons when conditions change.

 Beware of over flow which will begin to show up as the temperatures rise.  

As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.

Harry Holt, LLSMC

907-232-9080

March 23rd : Good morning,

Here is a current trail report for the Lake Louise area, March 23, 2017.

The weather for the past week has begun to warm up some. Lows this week have been -10 in the morning and warming mid teens in the afternoons. Wind has been calm and the skies clear and sunny at the beginning of the week. They have now turned to mostly cloudy and snowed about 1/2” last night.

All the groomed trails are holding up well. The Moore Lake trail will be groomed today  in preparation for the Spring Fun Run this weekend.

A group of riders coming from Eureka to Lake Louise have reported the trail to be rough in some spots but still enjoyable. Mendeltna trail has seen minimal use since last groomed. This trail makes for a great ride to the Mendeltna Lodge where Mable will make you a “super good pizza”. Call a day ahead for one of this culinary delights.

All the trails going to Crosswind Lake are doing good as well. Crosswind trail itself is showing signs of wear and tear on some of the south facing hills. Use caution when going over these hills, there are deep holes developing at the bottoms of them.

Use Extreme caution when traveling Tolsona Trail from the Cindy Trail Junction to Tolsona. Because this portion of the trail hasn’t been groomed in the past few years, there are trees and brush bent over and exposed from the groomer running over them. They are a great hazard!

Trails Groomed

 Mar.15th groomed Tolsona Trail

Mar. 14th groomed Mendeltna Trail

Mar. 23rd groomed Eureka / Moore Lake Trail

Feb. 17th Big Rock

Mar. 23rd groomed Winter Lake trail

Mar.7th groomed Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West /Big Bay /Crosswind trail, Loop

Comments:

All the trails that can be groomed, have been done at least twice now and  some more. We will continue to groom all the trails as long as adequate snow remains.  Please be kind to the trails when using them, the base is thin and fragile.  

As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.

Harry Holt, LLSMC  907-232-9080

 

3/16/17 – Good morning,

Here is a current trail report for the Lake Louise area, March 16, 2017.

The weather for the past week has been clear and cold. -20’s in the morning and warming to just above 0 in the afternoons. The wind has blown as well. One day saw winds 5–10 mph, drifting snow onto the trails. Weather is forecast for more of the same the weekend with a slight warming trend.

This week  three pickup trucks on two different occasions drove down the Lake trail putting deep ruts in the trail. One truck drove 15 miles to the back bay of Lake Susitna until getting stuck. The other two vehicles were together ice fishing on Lake Louise. The trail has been repaired requiring additional time and efforts  grooming. All trails are now in good shape. Hard packed snow with no reports of overflow on the lakes.

Trails groomed this week were the Moore Lake trail, Mendeltna Trail, and Tolsona Trail.

Moore Lake Trail is a wonderful ride but still rough in places. Take your time and a lunch and enjoy the vistas along this trail.

Use Extreme caution when traveling Tolsona Trail from the Cindy Trail Junction to Tolsona. Because this portion of the trail hasn’t been groomed in the past few years, there are trees and brush bent over and exposed from the groomer running over them. They are a great hazard!

Trails Groomed

 Mar.15th groomed Tolsona Trail

Mar. 14th groomed Mendeltna Trail

Mar. 13th groomed Eureka / Moore Lake Trail

Feb. 17th Big Rock

Mar. 10th groomed Winter Lake trail

Mar.7th groomed Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West /Big Bay /Crosswind trail, Loop

Comments:

 All the trails that can be groomed, have been done at least twice now and  some more.  Please be kind to the trails when using them, the base is thin and fragile.  

As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.

Harry Holt, LLSMC

 

OLD REPORTS

WOLF PACK WEEKEND
Lake Louise Lodge
MARCH 11, 2017
CLUB RIDE
Riders of all ages and ability are welcome.
11: oo am sharp, leave from Lake Louise Lodge to Doc and Chico’s on Crosswinds for refreshments and munchies. We’ll travel out via Tolsona /Cindy Trail and return on the Crosswind Trail.
Arriving back around 3:30. Approx. 60 mi. total
Dinner Special at the lodge
Shrimp Boil
(Reservations Recommended)
WOLF PACK ANNUAL BASKET AUCTION
Bring a Basket and Bid on Great Items!
7:00PM the fun begins!!!
Live music following the auction

LET’S HAVE FUN & SUPPORT WOLF PACK!!!

Good morning,

Here is a current trail report for the Lake Louise area, March 8, 2017.

The weather for the past week has been clear and cold. -30’s in the morning and warming to just above 0 in the afternoons. Wind has been a factor as well. Several days saw winds 5 – 15 mph drifting snow and causing a significant chill factor. Weather is forecast to warm up to the mid 20’s by the weekend.

 This week we have groomed the Lake Trail twice because of the drifting snow. Crosswind / Big Bay, Crosswind West, Cindy, Tolsona Trail loop have been groomed this week as well, for Wolf Pack Weekend. All trails are in good shape. Hard packed snow with no reports of overflow.

Trails Groomed

Feb.1st groomed Mendeltna Trail

Feb. 13th groomed Eureka / John Lake trail.

Feb. 17th Big Rock

Mar. 5th groomed Winter Lake trail

Mar.7th groomed Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West /Big Bay /Crosswind trail, Loop

Comments:

 All the trails that can be groomed, have been done at least twice now. The exception being the Moore Lake trail. It will be groomed early next week. All the groomed trails are in good shape. Some rougher than others. Please be kind to the trails when using them, the base is thin and fragile.  

When traveling on the Eureka / John Lake Trail, beware of holes that didn’t fill with snow  and there is a large ice flow at Mile11 and some overflow on the creek between Mile 11 to 13.

As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.

Harry Holt, LLSMC

907-232-9080

 
Here is a current trail report for the Lake Louise area, February 22, 2017.

Temperatures have been staying around the zero mark again this past week along with cloudy and partly cloudy skies. Still no real snow fall. Only a few light dustings of 1/2” or so along with some heavy frost. The ice is around 18-24 inches thick. Caution!! There have been a few reports of overflow showing up on some of the out laying ponds and streams. None has been reported on Lake Louise. Some has been reported on Tyone Lake. Stay on the marked trails and you will be OK.

This week we have groomed the Tolsona / Big Rock trail and the Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West / to the Big Bay Trail. The trail conditions are good but use some common sense when using these trails. There are unfilled holes, some brush sticking up, and who knows what else may have been left behind by the groomer.

Trails Groomed

Jan 31st we groomed Crosswind/Big Bay and North Crosswind trail
Feb.1st groomed Mendeltna Trail
Feb.22nd  groomed Winter Lake trail
Feb. 13th groomed Eureka / John Lake trail.
Feb. 17th groomed Tolsona/ Big Rock
Feb. 21st groomed Tolsona / Cindy /Crosswind West /Big Bay /Crosswind trails

Comments:
When traveling on the Eureka / John Lake Trail, beware of holes that didn’t fill with snow  and there is a large ice flow at Mile11 and some overflow on the creek between Mile 11 to 13. 
As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.
 
2/14 Temperatures all week stayed around the zero mark. Once again it looked and felt like it would snow a bunch but only about 2 inches fell. Though the wind was calm and temps cold all week, today, the temps have risen to 34deg and the wind began to blow 5-10 mph during the night and now has picked up to 23 mph. The warm temperature and wind will settle the snow and is drifting over the trails.
The ice is around 18-24 inches thick. Caution!! Last week a large area of overflow was reported in Big Bay on Crosswind Lake and Overflow is also been reported on Tyone Lake and river.

Yesterday we groomed the Eureka / John Lake trail to John Lake. We turned around there because it had been groomed from Eureka already. Beware of holes that didn’t fill with snow in the trail and there is a large ice flow at Mile11 and some overflow on the creek between Mile 11 to 13.
 Trails Groomed
Jan 31st we groomed Crosswind/Big Bay and North Crosswind trail
Feb.1st groomed Mendeltna Trail
Feb.2nd groomed Winter Lake trail
Feb. 13th groomed Eureka / John Lake trail.
Comments:
We groomed the Crosswind and Mendeltna trails with mixed results. Basically packed a  base but still need more snow to fill holes. It will need to snow more before we can groom these trails again so please be “gentle”when using them.
When traveling on the Eureka / John Lake Trail, beware of holes that didn’t fill with snow  and there is a large ice flow at Mile11 and some overflow on the creek between Mile 11 to 13.
  As always; let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back, dress for the weather and travel in pairs.
Harry Holt, LLSMC
907-232-9080

 

LAST YEARS AVALANCHE FATALITY – Nelchina Glacier Avalanche (click on link)-  CNFAIC Avalanche Reports

Location of Accident: Incident report Eureka, Alaska Date: 27 February 2016 Time: 12:30 pm AST Place: Toe of Nelchina Glacier. 16.5 miles South of the Eureka Roadhouse (MP 137.4 Glenn Highway) as the Crow flies.   Accident site coordinates: 61* 42’ 00.43”N   147* 06’ 09.73”W State: Alaska Borough: Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Reporting Agency: Chugach National Forest Avalanche Info Center (CNFAIC) Fatalities: 1

Synopsis: Three snowmachiners were caught in an avalanche triggered by the party. Two were caught and carried while the third was overrun by debris as he sat on his snowmachine at the base of the slope. Of the two riders caught and carried, one came to rest on the surface uninjured and the other was shallowly buried but killed, likely from trauma.  The third member of the party was partially buried (to his waist) and able to eventually dig himself out.

Avalanche details:   Avalanche Code: SS-AM-R2D3-I Avalanche Type: Soft Slab Avalanche Character: Persistent Slab Crown height: 2-4’ Width: 250–400’ (estimate). Vertical run: 1500’ -2,000’ (estimate)   Trigger: Snowmachine/ rider ascending slope.   Weak layer: Facets and surface hoar (weak layer unconfirmed).   Slope angle: 35*+ Aspect: East Elevation at crown: ~5,000’ ASL   Path character: Channeled terrain trap.   Debris: 2’-10’ deep.   Events leading to the Avalanche: On Saturday February 27th, 2016 a group of three snowmachiners left the Eureka Roadhouse (MP 137.4 Glenn Highway) enroute to a zone near the toe of the Nelchina Glacier.   All riders had intermediate to advanced snowmachining abilities and have been riding in this zone for more than 10 years. All three members of the party were carrying avalanche beacons, shovels and probes. The victim (rider #3) had his avalanche beacon in his backpack and had been known to keep it there instead of wearing it on his body “because it was uncomfortable to wear.” No obvious red flags (recent avalanches, shooting cracks or whumphing) were observed by this party during the 20+mile ride in to the toe of the Glacier. The party had been riding in this exact area and on the exact same slope one week prior. The party identified a small test slope they have been familiar with in the past (at the base of the slope that avalanched) and put several small climbs/ side-hills in with no discernable results. The comment from Rider #1 was that there were “no obvious layers”. The group of three then proceeded up to the base of the gully and stopped for a break. Rider #2 and #3 were changing out a clutch spring on Rider #3’s snowmachine (sled) when it was communicated that Rider #1 was going to climb the slope.   Accident Summary: At approximately 12:30 pm Rider #1 began climbing and unbeknownst to Rider #1, Rider #3 followed several seconds behind, “following his track” and gaining ground on Rider #1. Nearing the top of the gully, Rider #1 turned left out of the gully, and remotely triggered avalanche #1. Rider #1 looked to his left, back downhill and saw Rider #3 being overtaken by the leading edge of avalanche #1. It was about this time that Rider #1 triggered avalanche #2, which propagated above him. Rider #1 stayed on his sled for as long as he could until the wall of snow (avalanche #2) hit him from behind. At this point he jumped off his sled to create as much distance as he could between him and the machine. Rider #1 described being in the “washing machine” and was sucked completely under the snow several times. His helmet came off at some point (not buckled). His horizon was going from dark to light to dark to light. He continued to fight and keep moving until the avalanche stopped. When the debris stopped Rider #1 came to rest completely on the surface approximately 50 yards downslope from his sled.   All the debris from avalanche #1 and some debris from avalanche #2 funneled into the gully and caught up with Rider #2 who was still stationary with his sled. The debris hit Rider #2 burying his sled (except for a ski loop) and him up to his waist. Rescue summary: Rider #1 had a visual on Rider #2 and could tell he was okay even though they were separated by a substantial distance. Neither rider could see Rider #3. Several verbal callouts were not answered. Rider #1 turned his avalanche beacon to search and scanned the area toward the gully but did not pick up any signals. Rider #1 noticed his sled uphill of him and hiked back uphill to dig it out before riding over to rider #2. Rider #1 was able to get a signal with his cell phone from the location of his partially buried sled and placed a call to 9-1-1. At least 2 other parties in the vicinity saw the avalanche and/ or the powder cloud and both began heading toward the toe of the debris. From where responders were it was 20-30 minutes to get there based on deep snow, steep slopes and thick brush. The first responder got to Rider #2 within 20 minutes (estimate) of the avalanche. Rider #2 had nearly extracted himself and was uninjured. After determining there were three in the party and one still missing, the first responder began a beacon search.

Fairly quickly the searcher saw Rider #3’s backpack partially buried. The backpack appeared to be undamaged (buckles and straps in-tact) and had Rider #3’s avalanche beacon inside. First responder confirmed with Rider #2 that this was Rider #3’s backpack and avalanche beacon. Rider #3’s sled was also spotted uphill of his backpack and his jacket (unzipped)/ helmet were spotted a bit further up. By this time more people were responding and 5-7 people began spot probing likely burial spots near the surface clues for about 10 minutes. One rescuer noticed blood in the snow near the jacket. The responders decided to walk uphill a ways above where Rider #3’s jacket/ helmet were found, and formed a probe line, walking back downhill. An organized probe line ensued for roughly an hour before one member decided on a whim to walk further uphill than where the probe line was started (approximately 150 yards above where Rider #3’s backpack was found). It was this responder who noticed Rider #3’s boot above the surface. He probed in this spot and got a positive strike immediately and with the help of other responders extricated Rider #3.  This was approximately 2 hours after the avalanche.

Rider #3 was buried face down in an uphill orientation (head uphill) with a foot or less of snow on top of him. Once on the surface it was clear rider #3 was deceased. At this point the group on scene made a decision to extract the body from the mountainside. A suitable landing zone was identified at the toe of the Nelchina Glacier where Alaska State Troopers Helo 2 landed and flew the deceased out.   Rider #1 returned the following day to extract Rider #3’s sled. It’s also worth noting that the responders recognized significant hang fire still above. They discussed this and made a conscious decision to keep beacons and airbag packs strapped and armed during the search/ extraction. Avalanche forecast: There is no avalanche information or avalanche advisory for this region. Snowpack and Weather history: Due to the remote nature of this site, we were unable to get an avalanche specialist on the ground to conduct a crown profile. Snowpack and weather history that follows is based on interviews with members of the victim’s party, the rescue party and supplemented by some remote weather data.   Individuals involved in this incident were riding sleds in the exact same drainage 1 week prior on Saturday, February 20th. They reported riding in 6-8” of loose snow on a supportable crust. Daytime temps were around 0 degrees F with overnight lows dipping to -9F (Eureka, Skeleton Airport). They were “chased out of this area on Saturday night (Feb.20th) by an approaching storm”. The Moraine SNOTEL site registered 1.5” of snow water equivalent (SWE) in 24 hours from approx. noon on the 20th to noon on the 21st. Light snowfall ensued throughout the week leading up to the accident but no additional large loading events were recorded at the Moraine SNOTEL site (Moraine is ~70 miles SE of accident site). Winds were moderate from the NNE all week as recorded at 3235’ near Gunsight Mountain (~15 miles East of accident site). Rescuers were adamant that the bed surface in this avalanche was the supportable crust they experienced the week prior. Based on this, the above brief weather history and crown thickness it is prudent to infer that the 6-8” of loose snow above the crust was faceting during the cold, clear period preceding the February 21st loading event. There may have been a layer of buried surface hoar deposited during the clear period as well. Other parties in the area were experiencing whumphing, shooting cracks and triggering smaller slabs in smaller terrain that had similar depths and characteristics to the fatal avalanche.

A special thanks goes to the rescue party and Rider #1 of the victim’s party for the openness, honesty and willingness to share this story for others to learn from.

27-Feb-2016:  A snowmachiner was killed Saturday in an avalanche near Nelchina Glacier in the Chugach Mountains, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers in Glennallen responded at about 12:50 p.m. to an avalanche near the glacier, south of the Eureka Lodge.

“Information was received that two (people) on snowmachine were caught in an avalanche and were unaccounted for,” troopers wrote.

Troopers responded by snowmachine and later by helicopter to reach the scene. The body of one of the snowmachiners was recovered by helicopter, troopers wrote in the dispatch. The person was identified in the dispatch only as a male.

No one else needed medical attention, troopers said.

Little other information was immediately available. Troopers spokesman Timothy DeSpain did not immediately respond to an email seeking further details.

Alaska State Troopers have identified the snowmachiner killed in Saturday’s avalanche near Eureka as an Anchorage man.

Troopers said Sunday afternoon that 50-year-old Randy Pratt was the man killed in the slide, which troopers responded to just before 1 p.m. Saturday near the Nelchina Glacier.

Initial reports indicated contact had been lost with two people, including Pratt, who were snowmachining south of the Eureka Lodge when they were caught in the avalanche.

Troopers were able to make contact with the other person, but Pratt’s body was recovered by a trooper helicopter and flown to the State Medical Examiner Office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

Lake Louise Lodge WX Cam  (Weather Camera)

ASC Thanks The Wolf Pack for this Trail Update.