Observation: Turnagain

Location: Shark's Fin

Route & General Observations

We toured through the woods navigating and creating our own skin track as we went. We dug 3 pits total, two at 1500′ and one at 1800′. We skied the southwest face of the Fin and had some great powder turns.

We did not find any alarming results in any of our three pits today, although it still felt like we need to be paying attention to the 1/25 crust layer. We stayed off the steeper south-facing terrain, since we could see snow blowing around and forming fresh wind slabs along the sides of the spines and in the steeper gullies.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Some minor shooting cracks off my skis at the top of the tour.

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

It snowed all day at a moderate intensity (S2) which was enough to partially refill our skin track. At mid-upper elevations the wind picked up and increased snow transport. The temperature decreased once we were out of the trees, we didn't check what it was at this point but it could be estimated to be about 20˚.

Snow surface

There was about 2-3" of new snow at lower elevations and 3-4" at our mid elevation snow pits. At wind effected locations there was stiffer snow below the new surface snow.


We dug three pits throughout the day...

At 1500' we dug two pits one was due west and the other was southwest. The snow depth at the west-facing pit far exceeded the depth of the southwest pit at 350 cm (12') and 200 cm 7') respectively. In both pits we found the 1/25 crust with rounding facets forming above it. In the deeper pit the crust was about 85 cm (3') below the snow surface, and in the shallower pit it was only 1.5' deep. In the deeper pit we also found a layer that looked like a layer of buried surface hoar at first, but turned out to be preserved stellars. Our stability tests presented no alarming results, but we were able to get clean and zippy shears on top of the 1/25 crust with a shovel. The layer did not feel like it would make an avalanche where we were today, but it seems like it is still worth paying attention to.

In our upper elevation pit, we found a newer crust about 6" deep, buried by a thin wind slab that likely formed earlier this week and covered by about 3" new snow from today. We only dug about 2' deep in this pit to test the upper snowpack, and did not get any alarming test results.

Photos & Video
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