Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Toured up Sunburst skin track, veering hard left above the trees, to check out Northerly aspects at alder line. 9″ of new low density snow has fallen as of 6 pm on either near surface facets over a thin breakable melt freeze crust on Northerly aspects, or directly onto a melt freeze crust on all other aspects below 1900′.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Rapid loading by wind and new snow. Moderate NW winds noted at ~6 pm at 1900'.

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

Obscured skies.
Snowing 1 cm per hour at 3 pm, decreasing to snowing <1 cm per hour at 6 pm.
Light NW winds until 6 pm, when winds increased to moderate.
~32 F

Snow surface

~9" of low density powder by 6pm. This new snow has fallen onto either 1cm-5 cm of near surface facets over a very thin (~1cm or less), breakable melt freeze crust on Northerly aspects or a breakable melt freeze crust 1-3 cm thick on other aspects. This crust is most supportable and slick on Southerly aspects and lower elevations. Note we did not tour above 1900'. At valley bottoms in unprotected areas our skintrack had blown in. Moist, sticky snow at the road.


In handpits there was little slab to fail as the snow was low density, but sitting on a slick crust. We dug one pit at 1900' on a N aspect along the ridgeline. 29 degree slope. HS =217 cm. TD=115 cm. HN=23 cm. 23 cm of new snow was sitting on 5 cm of near surface facets over a very thin (<1cm) and breakable melt freeze crust. We found the Jan. 21 buried surface hoar (BSH)/facet layer (BSH decomposing and 1 cm in size) down 82 cm. The Jan. melt freeze crust/facet sandwich was 106 cm down. CT7 PC down 28 cm on buried facets over a thin melt freeze crust. CT15 BRK down 30 cm in facets under the thin melt freeze crust. CT24 SC down 106 cm on 2 mm facets in the Jan melt freeze crust/facet sandwich. CTN. ECTX.

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