Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Sunburst parking lot. Common uptrack to 3400′.

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

None observed today.

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

Broken skies with pockets of blue sky. Temps in the low 20's at ridgetop. Winds from the NE in the 10-15mph range, gusting to mid-20's.

Snow surface

1000'-1800' Supportable rain crust with surface hoar and near surface facets
1800'-2200' Surface hoar on 4-6" of settled powder over thin, breakable crust.
2200'-3400' 6-8" of loose, faceting powder.

Surface hoar from 1K up to ridgetops, decreasing in size as you go up in elevation. Note: SH was sitting on loose, faceted snow above ~1500.


Found a layer of melt-layer re-crystalization in a thin band at lower elevations (~1500-1800'). Cold air at the surface combines with a (relatively) warm surface crust to create extreme temperature gradients in the top few centimeters of snow. This extreme temp gradient creates a thin layer of faceted snow just below the surface and above the crust. See video for an example of how this could act as a dangerous weak layer in a future loading event.

Pit at 3400'
N Aspect. HS= 130cm
ECTN. With considerable prying I was able to get a column to fracture 70cm down on 1-2mm facets.
Generally the snowpack was right side up.

Note: Totally different snowpack structure than what Wendy and I found in Groundhog Creek yesterday (Johnson Pass area) at a similar elevation.

Photos & Video
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