Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst - Weather Station

Route & General Observations

Successful trip up to the Sunburst weather station for needed maintenance. Station data is up and running again! We ascended the SW ridge and returned down Taylor Pass.

Yesterday’s winds absolutely hammered the place. Details below.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect Northeast
Elevation 3200ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 24inWidth 200ft
Vertical Run 800ft  
Avalanche Details

Yesterday's Southerly winds along the non-motorized side of Turnagain Pass loaded and triggered several slab avalanches on Northerly aspects yesterday. Weak layers suspect to be facets/BSH in the mid-pack and/or facets near the ground.

Two recent avalanches off the North aspects of Magnum that looked to be triggered from the wind event yesterday. Details above are for the larger of the two, just West of Taylor Pass. Photos and descriptions below.

All other avalanche activity was old and from the Christmas cycle. The slopes below the weather station looked to have slid during the Christmas cycle and old debris ran almost to valley floor.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Significant wind effect from yesterday and overnight.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Overcast with a few sucker holes. Temps in mid to upper 20'sF. Winds light and variable.

Snow surface

Did I mention the winds? Very little soft snow to be found on our route. Yesterday's winds have stripped areas to the ground, formed drifts you may need a chainsaw to cut into, rock hard to almost rock hard sastrugi and formed a hard wind crusts on loose snow in the flats. (But really, some soft snow has prevailed down low in gullies.)


Hard wind slabs over a variety of weak layers formed during the clear/cold spells of Nov and Dec (mid-pack facets, basal facets and buried surface hoar). The wind slabs in the Sunburst area were quite variable, 2+' drifts to only a few inches.

Photos & Video
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