Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst Meadows above Treeline

Route & General Observations

I took the standard approach towards Sunburst Meadows (above treeline) to assess snowpack after recent wind events and rising temperatures.
I conducted instability tests around 2,200’ and received no alarming results with good stability overall. Strong, consistent NE gusts were present, originating from Taylor Pass, as well as plumes on ridge lines above 3,000’ during tour.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

No cracking, collapsing or observed avalanches.
Active wind loading at treeline and above.
Observed strong NE wind plumes on exposed, alpine ridge lines along Sunburst, Magnum, and northern Seattle Ridge.

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

Broken sky trending to overcast.
Moderate NE winds with strong, audible, consistent gusts producing spindrift.
All exposed trees/alders held no accumulation.
Active wind loading and scouring could be seen along exposed ridgelines along with crossloading in gullies.
28°F @ 900’ (10:30)
23°F @ 2,160 (11:30am)
No precipitation
No Rime present

Snow surface

Varied wind stiffened surfaces from thin skins to fresh wind-loaded slabs 4F-1F hardness, 5-20cm thick were present on leeward features above 1,500’.
The 12.7 surface rain crust is present to 1,200’ as well as the 12.1 Melt-freeze crust, approximately 20-40cm below surface to my high point of 2,400’.
Ski/Boot: 18cm/40cm


My focus was to assess snowpack instability after the recent wind events of the past 48 hours with my layer of concern being the wind slabs in the upper snowpack.
Tests at this location showed moderate strength and no alarming results.

The wind effected layers, 20-30cm below surface produced sudden planar fractures in small columns, but displayed no propagation propensity in large column testing (ECTX).
Basal facets were moist with no striations while nearly non-existent, fragmented depth hoar seems to be rounding at this elevation.

*See Snowpilot for details*

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