Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Eddies

Route & General Observations

Standard route up eddies on the Iditarod trail. We went out the door with thought of checking out the steep southern terrain with the mellower W facing route as a backup plan.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect South Southwest
Elevation 2800ftSlope Angle 40deg
Crown Depth3ftWidth 1000ft
Vertical Run 1500ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried? 1
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

Avalanche was triggered skinning up the final steep section before the first peak. Skinner was carried approximately 50 vertical feet coming to a stop on the ridge. Initial fracture triggered approximately 50 feet above and 75 feet to each side of the skinner. The snow on the more shaded aspect travelled approximately 100' vertical feet into the lower angle terrain of the west facing bowl. The snow on the more southerly aspect propagated to the SW approximately 1000' from the trigger point and travelled to the valley floor with one portion of the debris reaching the creek.

Events of the day

Two experienced ski touring friends out for the day with the mind set of stepping into bigger terrain. There were no obvious signs telling us not to continue with our planned tour. We were aware of the snowpack structure and the possibility of triggering an avalanche but did not expect to make an avalanche of this size.

Persistent slab is inherently difficult to manage and is tricky to deal with.
Terrain choices matter - - we chose an aggressive objective but the ascent of the last pitch was set favoring the less consequential terrain, this ended up in our favor.
Risk acceptance can be higher or lower depending on the partners you go with.
I'm sure there are other lessons, but that's what we have for now.

Rescue events

No rescue needed, skinner self rescued after snow stopped moving.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No obvious signs of instability. There was a noise a bit before noon that sounded akin to a large whoomph, but was attributed to a bomb from the ski area, sonic boom, or other phenomena. Another party that was skiing else where in turnagain pass mentioned hearing the same thing.

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

cold and clear. light winds.

Snow surface

fresh powdery snow.


no formal test.

Photos & Video
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