Avalanche: Summit

Location: South of Tenderfoot - Tri Tip

Route & General Observations

Parked across from summit lake, skinned across the lake and up the meadows on the other side, working our way up towards and eventually planning to go up the NW ridge of peak 3908. Felt barely a breeze from leaving the car at noon until returning to the car at 2:30pm. Felt older windslab as we left the treeline area on the ridge.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Yes
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect North Northwest
Elevation 2700ftSlope Angle 34deg
Crown Depth 20inWidth 100ft
Vertical Run 350ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried? 1
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

As we emerged into the more exposed area of ridge above treeline we noted older wind effect (wind sculpted snow under softer snow). We spaced out, then the first skier tried to break trail up the first exposed knob. Just before the exposed knob the first skier probed the snow with an upside-down ski pole and noted a soft slab with notably softer snow underneath, but thought the slab on top did not feel hollow or too touchy. In the middle of the N/NW aspect knob the snow collapsed with an audible whumpf and the skier felt a drop. Looking up-mountain the skier saw a crown about 50 feet up-mountain, turned and tried to skin a diagonal back towards their awaiting partner. The skier was able to unlock one toe of a dynafit binding but not the other before getting tumbled by the snow. The skier tumbled about 250' and emerged partially buried, head up, with the locked ski still attached to the boot, but uninjured, about 30' above a group of dense trees. One partner who was about 100 feet behind the skier who triggered the slide backed up in the skin track with the avalanche breaking 4' from his skis. The slide broke at the upper crown, broke along the fall line, and then stepped out wide towards the partner in the skin track.

Events of the day

This was a challenging area with three wind directions that could easily affect the ridge line. The area that released appeared to be an isolated older windslab or persistant slab, but we did not spend the time to dig around and note the bed surface snow.

Rescue events

The skier was thankful to not have ski pole straps on, and it really helped to be able to release one ski before being rolled downhill.

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

We did not see any naturals on similar aspects, there was no hollow snow, no shooting cracks or whoomfs on lower-angle terrain.

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

Bluebird day, about 24 degrees, a very slight southerly breeze as we reached treeline. It was difficult to assess how much new snow fell in the past 24 hours since the 24-hour storm was fairly warm and then cooled off overnight. We were breaking trail through unconsolidated 5-6", but that amount was more like 4" at the area of the avalanche

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.