Observation: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge

Route & General Observations

Field observations

– obscured skies
– snowing lightly, less than 1/2 inch or 1cm per hour, 3-4″ of low density snow
at 2,000ft by 2pm.
– light southerly wind in the pass
– temperature increasing from mid teens to mid 20’s through the day

Signs of instability:
– minor cracking in areas wind was depositing new snow (4-8″ deep)

Surface observations:
– Wind affected new snow over the top of variable old surfaces. Old surfaces
included sun crusts, wind crusts and soft settled powder (not to mention many
old tracks).
– There was not enough snow to really cover and refresh old tracks. Both for
snowmachining as well as skiing. Kudos to my partner for keeping spirits up on
days like today after weeks of amazing snow and weather.

Comments / concerns:
Fresh wind slabs sitting on crusts or faceted snow was our primary concern. In
the areas we traveled (2,300′ and below) these slabs were shallow (4-8″) and not
very touchy. This was the case for both crusts and facets underneath. They needed
a fair amount of encouragement and steep slopes angles to move. There simply was
not enough snow here to make things interesting avalanche-wise. Put a foot of
new onthese surfaces and the game would change.

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