Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Sunburst to 3100′ via standard uptrack

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

Some small avalanche activity in the region from the past few days, including:
- North aspect steep slopes of Cornbiscuit had some fairly fresh debris (photo below), with start zones covered back up by snow.
- Seattle Ridge had a small debris pile under a cornice that appeared to be covered by at least some of yesterday's storm (photo below)
- Small loose snow avalanches that looked fresh - potentially today - in cross loaded features facing South on Seattle Ridge (photo below)

The glide crack on the Seattle Ridge's repeat offender path is still visible, and while our angle was different today from last week, appeared to be slightly bigger...

Finally, when the sun would light up the steep slopes at the base of the Library/Tincan Proper, it looked like widespread roller balls may have been occurring today.

We had good light and visibility on the Library, Tincan Proper, and the north aspect of Magnum, with no other apparent recent avalanche activity.

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

Overcast skies with obscured peaks in the AM transitioned to broken skies and lingering patches of valley fog below us by afternoon
A brief period of light snow midday, occasional light winds from the south at ridgeline
Warm. 32f at the car in the morning, up to 36f when we departed at 3:30pm with melting at the road level... below freezing at ridgeline.

Snow surface

2" of new snow overnight at the road level. 1-2" of this new snow was on the surface along the entire route, including the often wind affected ridgeline.

The surface of the snow was moist below 1500' when we departed at 3:30 PM.


Below the soft new snow from overnight, last week's winds clearly had stiffened the surface of the entirety of the route above 2000'. Ski pole probing revealed a 4-12" wind hardened layer, often over a less dense layer of snow just below. Quick hand shear tests above 2000' would generally require medium or hard force to fail. In clearings between 1500-2000' - where winds left a thinner (2-4") slab - these hand shear tests would fail with easy force. All that said, no cracking or collapsing as we made a trail, and small corniced features would only break under foot when jumping on them.

Dug a pit at 3100', ~100' to the south of the wind loaded ridge line. Probing revealed the New Years Crust was 80-120cm below the surface in the vicinity - up to 160cm down at the wind loaded ridge line. Pit structure and results are below!

Photos & Video
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