Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Taylor Pass/Pastoral

Route & General Observations

We toured up to Pastoral in search of cold, dry snow and found what we were looking for on high northerly aspects. Surfaces were barely supportable crusts on most aspects up to around 2000′, dry but firm windblown snow on some higher elevation northerly aspects, and soft snow on isolated northerly slopes above 2500-3000′ or so. Our main concern was hunting for instabilities within the new snow from this week. We triggered two small wind slabs in steep northerly terrain, but saw very few signs of recent activity within that new snow.

Ski quality was variable throughout the day, but there is definitely still good snow to be found out there. The lingering concerns over the 3/14 layer kept our objectives modest, but we did feel comfortable enough to ski some steeper terrain that did not have any serious terrain traps back near Pastoral and just above Taylor Pass.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect North Northwest
Elevation 3500ftSlope Angle 38deg
Crown Depth 6inWidth 10ft
Vertical Run 300ft  
Avalanche Details

We triggered two small wind slabs in steep northerly terrain just above Taylor Pass. These were 2-6" deep and 5-10' wide.

Red Flags
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Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Nothing beyond the two small wind slabs we triggered.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Cloud cover was super variable and chaning quickly. We enjoyed several stretches of mostly sunny skies, but clouds were in and out and made for challenging travel several times throughout the day. Air temps were warm but a light breeze kept surfaces cool while we were out.

Snow surface

Surfaces were variable. High elevation northerly slopes were still holding cold dry snow, but most everything else had some sort of barely supportable to breakable crust on the surface.


Our main concern was at the interface between this week's snow and the older snow surface. We did not dig any pits while we traveled, but did take the time to do a lot of travel tests to assess as we toured around. The newest wind slabs were reactive on some isolated terrain features, but we saw very few signs of unstable snow.

Photos & Video
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