Observation: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge, Main Bowl

Route & General Observations

From the Moto-lot we took the normal up-track to the top of Main Bowl where we dug in to take a look at the storm snow. From there we ventured to the weather station and then back to the cornice overlooking Warm-up Bowl. While riding we expected to observe natural storm slab avalanches running on the old crust layer but this was not the case. The only natural slab avalanche looked to have been a wind slab triggered by a small cornice fall in Zero Bowl. We also observed several small point releases on the sunnyside of Seattle on our way back to the moto-lot from early afternoon sunshine and warming.

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

Temperature stayed just below 30 degrees, there was no precipitation, a light wind blew from the south east and visibility improved throughout the day from obscured to partly sunny.

Snow surface

Around 10" of new snow above 2,000', up to 18" in wind loaded areas. There seemed to be a large amount of variability in snow depth due to wind transport.

At 1,000' (parking lot elevation) a rain crust capped the surface and runnels were seen up to 1,500'. The rain crust from yesterday extended to 1,800' and at this elevation the crust was capped with 3-4" of low density snow from last night when temps cooled.


We set out today to observe how the new storm snow was interacting with the preexisting facets and crust.

We dug a pit at 2800 feet on an east facing slope.
On an extended column test we got an ECTN result at 14. This test was repeated 3 times (ECTN 13,15,15). The column failed 25cm down on a 2-3cm layer of small (1mm) facets above the New Year's crust. While propagation was never observed, the block moved very easily (sheared very easily) and the fracture plane was smooth.

Photos & Video
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