Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan Alpine

Route & General Observations

We took the standard approach towards the alpine to assess wind effect and recent snowfall, and conducted instability tests in two locations with results showing good stability overall.
Though the alpine was obscured for most of the day, treeline skiing was primo with 2-4″ of recent accumulation with light snow falling midday on.

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

Localized cracking within alpine (2,500’+) on convexities with test slopes showing the fresh 6-10” releasing over wind slabs.
No collapsing
No observed releases

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

Overcast trending to obscured 2,500’+ from 10:00-17:00
Valley fog present from 1,200’ to 2,000’ in AM.
S-1 at 10:00 at 1,000’
S2 at 13:00 at 3,000’+
Calm trending to light NW winds at 2,800’+.
18°F to 21°F in alpine
Active riming starting at 14:00 on all surface grains and clothing/equip.

Snow surface

2-4" of fresh, light accumulation from 1,000’ to 3,000’+
over variable and irregular wind stiffened surfaces.
Rime was present on surface grains.
Ski/Boot Penetration: 7”/18”


In general, my focus was to assess the depth and reactivity of the basal facets and wind slabs in treeline and the alpine. Tests at both locations showed moderate strength and no propagation propensity with great stability overall.
We received multiples of CTN, ECTX and no alarming PST results with the basal facets showing a strong, cohesive bond to the ground layer and the entire snowpack in our alpine test site acting act as one large slab, with no distinct weak layer.
Though our test site was in a shallow, wind effected area,
HS 97cm, slopes only 10’ away presented varying depths of up to HS 250cm.
The 12.1 melt-freeze crust is present up to 2,600’, 10”-20”below surface and the 12.7 rain crust is barely noticeable and present to 1,400’, 2-4” below surface.
Near surface facets and buried surface hoar were not observed in treeline.

Photos & Video
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