Observation: Turnagain

Location: Pete's North

Route & General Observations

We toured to Pete’s North from the Johnson Pass parking lot. We went up to 2750′, and dug pits at 1490′, 2190′, and 2700′. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the snow had been more or less spared from Thursday’s strong winds. There were two persistent weak layers in the upper 2′ of the snowpack that were keeping us on our toes. We were careful with our terrain selection, avoiding anything steep and wind-loaded.

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

Clear skies with an occasional light easterly breeze. Temperatures were near 0 F in the parking lot, and warmed to the upper 20's F in the afternoon. Very pleasant day to be out.

Snow surface

Surprisingly soft. Most slopes had 4-6" soft snow on top. There was a crust under the soft snow up to about 1250'. There was significant scouring along the ridge, with some slopes blown all the way down to the ground.


We dug pits at three elevations. We found two layers of weak snow in the upper 2' of the pack, most likely buried on 1/28 and 2/9. While they were still reactive in some tests they were not as sensitive as they have been previously at other locations around Turnagain and Girdwood. It seemed like stability is slowly improving, but we were still skeptical of slopes that had been previously wind-loaded. Details:

Pit 1 (1490', W aspect): See attached snowpilot profile.

Pit 2 (2190', SW aspect): Total snow depth 10.5' (320 cm):
We dug this set of pits on a previously loaded convexity. There were two buried layers in the upper 2' of the pack that each had a combination of decomposing stellars and near-surface facets. Both of these layers showed up in stability tests, and the deeper of the two (1.5-2' deep) was consistently propagating (ECTP10, ECTP11 x3). This would have been the layer that was buried on 1/28.

Pit 3 (2700', SW aspect) Total snow depth 8' (245 cm):
This slope had seen a very slight amount of wind, but the snow on the surface was still fist-hard. We only saw one weak layer in the upper pack at this elevation, which was not propagating in stability tests (ECTN10, ECTN12). It would be a bit more concerning if it were capped with a stiffer wind slab.

Photos & Video
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