Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Toured up to 3200′ above┬áCommon Bowl via the SW ridge and descended NW ridge. There was 15-20″ of new snow from a storm that ended this morning. Lots of obvious clues were present (recent avalanches, whumpfing, cracking.) Throughout the day the slab character was changing from with warming temps and solar radiation. Most of the activity happened between 3pm and 5pm and likely continued after were left. Sunset was at 9pm today.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Southwest
Elevation 3000ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 18inWidth 100ft
Vertical Run 300ft  
Avalanche Details

Timing happened sometime after we left Hippy Bowl around 3:30pm and drove by on the road around 5pm. There was a lot of traffic on Tincan today along the ridge above Common Bowl, but the nearest tracks were 300+' away. Its unknown if this was remotely triggered or a natural event, but warming and solar radiation were affecting surface conditions in the afternoon. There were two small wet loose avalanches in Hippy Bowl on due South aspects by 2:30pm.

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)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

-Large avalanche released in Hippy Bowl early evening
-Several small human triggered avalanches on W and NW aspects below 2500'. The first one observed was at 12:30pm (remote triggered from 100' away.) See photo.
-Small wet loose on South and SE aspects and started near rocks or from ridges around 2:30pm (Hippy bowl and Seattle Ridge)
-Numerous collapses at 2000' and 2700' when we broke our own trail.
-20+' long crack on North aspect above Common bowl slowly widened over a few minutes and opened up to about 1" wide. This occurred around 3pm after a dog ran onto the slope and returned to the ridge. Cracking was also observed on several steep features, including a supported slope, a distance from where groups skied down on gentler terrain.

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

Partly cloudy becoming mostly sunny in the afternoon
Temps below 1000' - mid 30F's to low 40F's
Temps in the alpine - remained cooler ~low 20F's
Winds were light (5-10mph East)
No precip

Snow surface

15" new snow at 1000'
15-20" new - variable slab depths due to winds
*wet and sticky surfaces were observed on South aspects and more noticeable on slopes angles steeper than 30 degrees. On our descent at 5pm the lower elevation snow was much heavier and moister than earlier in the day.


We dug 4 pits and tried to get a variety of aspects and focused our stability tests on the new/old snow interface.

Pit #1- 2700', West aspect, 21* slope, HS=350cm - CT13 ECTN24 failed 50cm below the surface on near surface facets. A sun crust was not present in this pit location.

Pit #2 -2700', WSW aspect, 28* slope, HS=405cm - CT5, CT10, ECTP11, ECTP2 failed 45cm below the surface on 2mm near surface facets above a thin 2cm 1F hard sun crust. There were .5-1mm near surface facets below this thin sun crust and one of the ECT's failed on both layers. The sun crust was only 2cm thick and 1F hard. See video and photo below.

Pit #3 - 3200', SSW aspect, 22* slope, HS=260cm - CTV, ECTP24, ECTP26 failed 50cm below the surface on near surface facets below a 4cm knife hard sun crust.

Pit #4 - 2900', N aspect, HS = 140cm - CT17, ECTN19 failed 45cm below the surface on near surface near surface facets on pencil hard old snow. Also had a CT29 fail 70cm below the surface on the Jan.21 buried surface hoar/facet layer.

Photos & Video
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