Observation: Turnagain

Location: Taylor Pass

Route & General Observations

Skin track to Taylor Pass heading to Pastoral. Saw recent cornice failure off Sunburst…Wowser! Tried to stay far out as possible from south face of Sunburst considering yesterday’s activity and mostly sunny conditions.

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Felt and heard snowpack collapse under us near shallow area near vegetation berm 2/3 back toward Taylor Pass. Were trying to stay out wide of Sunburst face considering recent activity on Sunburst and mostly sunny skies. When collapse happened we were in an area that if had been capable of widespread propagation upslope onto steeper face, we would have been in trouble! Collapse was local and did not propogate through snowpack. Good sign of better stability deep than was observed in recent weeks. Whew!!
Later in day ~4-6 pm heard distance wet release and presumed it was south face ridge of Tin Can toward Kickstep. Looked like lots more activity there during the day. Otherwise, did not observe any new avalanche activity. Pastoral basin still had fairly cool temps and packed dense powder up high.

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

Mostly sunny, increasing cloud cover toward late afternoon. A local rain shower started at highway ~7:30 pm. Calm winds except light NW wind thru Taylor Pass.

Snow surface

Slight crust below treeline where snow starts (11 am), but was softening up to treeline by noon. Supportable MF to Taylor Pass and mostly dense wind-buffed powder in Pastoral basin. Pretty firm on Pastoral NE face. Creamy spring snow on Sunburst by 5 pm. Very skiable but never warmed too much to cause any new wet slides. Good fun soft mush back down to treeline and below.


Other than collapse in valley floor, never observed any red flags in snowpack. No pit obs.