Observation: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge

Route & General Observations

We were on a hunt for the 3/2 layer of surface hoar, and to see how reactive it still is. We dug 6 pits around Main Bowl, and were able to find the layer in most pits, but it was showing signs of gaining strength. The snow surface warmed up in the afternoon, and we were kicking off a lot of roller balls with a few wet sluffs later in the day.

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

Light snow early in the day. There was a mid-level cloud hovering around 3000' for most of the day, but it lifted a bit in the afternoon. The sun was in and out all day, with more sun later in the day. Winds were calm to light out of the east.

Snow surface

Cold and dry on shaded aspects, warm and moist on solar aspects. There was a thin melt-freeze crust on south and west aspects that softened up by around 1:00 p.m. The front side of Seattle Ridge was a mix of firm surfaces, including wind and sun crusts.


We dug on NW, W, and SW aspects between 2000' and 2600'. We were able to find the layer of buried surface hoar in 4 out of 6 pits. We could not get any stability tests to propagate on the layer, including in one set of pits we dug right next to the crown of an avalanche from last week. The layer is buried anywhere from 6-18" deep, and in some cases there was a 1-finger hard wind slab on top of the weak layer.

The snow surface heated up enough in the afternoon to make some solar-triggered wet loose avalanches on steep southerly slopes. We also set of a ton of rollerballs just prior to the natural releases (see attached photo). Overall the stability felt better out there today than it did on Monday. We were still careful with how we approached steep terrain, starting small and slowly working our way up.

Photos & Video
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