Observation: Turnagain

Location: Silvertip area

Route & General Observations

Tour up into the Silvertip drainage to take a look at the snowpack is this area that is South of Turnagain Pass and known to have a thinner snowpack.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No obvious signs of instability - just poor structure as you will see in the video.

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

Overcast and light snow falling.
Winds were calm in valley and breezy from North above the trees. Just enough to move a little snow around.
Temperatures were warm (for this year) ~15-20F at all elevations.

Snow surface

2-3" of new very low density snow from last night (night of 2/8)


Poor structure and thin... See video

The bottom 20cm consists of depth hoar at 2,300' just near treeline. Above treeline the winds have effected the snowpack and there were areas with 6' of snow along with areas of 3 feet. The thinner zones had weak snow near the ground - evident by probing. The thicker zones it was noticeably more uniform and stronger.

The surface hoar that formed during the last week-plus dry spell is now covered by the 2-3" of new snow. This now buried surface hoar (BSH) is up to 2-3cm in size from the parking lot to 1,000'. From 1,000' to 1,400' it is around 1cm. Above 1,400' and up to 3,000' our high point it's 3-4mm. The BSH is sitting on a crust at 1,000' and below, and on loose snow above 1,000'.

Bottom line: The surface snow is very loose and new snow/wind will likely create easy to trigger soft slabs in the near future. This loose surface layer is ~8" thick and the BSH sits in the middle. Under the loose snow is stiffer snow that could act as a slick bed surface with additional snow/wind loading.

Photos & Video
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