Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Toured up to 2200′ on Sunburst to check out the wind effect from yesterday’s storm.
The overall level of loading and scouring was impressive. Exposed areas were stripped and leeward slopes were fat and pillowed. Lots of cross loading and top loading, cornice growth and wind balls (cinnamon rolls from wind moving damp snow). Winds had obviously been funneled through Taylor Pass as well as through Turnagain Pass and over the Sunburst ridge. The low light and intermittent clouds made for limited visibility and identifying recent avalanche activity difficult.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Remnant crowns of D1-D2 wind slabs from the storm were evident on Seattle Ridge, Sunburst and Petes South.

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

Generally overcast with a few minor breaks throughout the day.
Winds ENE winds in the 20s, gusty in the afternoon
Temps in the mid 30s at the truck and high 20s towards the ridge
Light rain was falling just north of Tincan at 900' @ 3pm

Snow surface

Sunburst parking @ 980-1800' Rain on snow. As we gained elevation saturation went from 10 cm to .5cm. This had not quite frozen and made for grabby skiing.
Above 1800' damp snow, 10-20 cm ski penetration depending on wind effect.
Multiple wind roller balls


Dug in @ 2200', W aspect, 30 degree slope, HS=150
Dug down to the Thanksgiving Rain Crust (TCR) that was a meter deep with 5 cms of loose facets (rounding) sitting above the crust. Hardness trend was right side up 4F-P until going back to 4F above the TCR
The pre-Xmas facets were 50 cm down below the weekends storm snow. We did not find any buried surface hoar.
There is a density change in the storm snow at 25 cm below the surface.
CT15 @ 25cm
CT 28 @ 50 cm and simultaneously on the facet/TCR combo 100 cm
PST 65x100 End in the facets above the TCR

Photos & Video
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