Observation: Turnagain

Location: Bench Peak

Route & General Observations

We rode into Bench from Trail Lake. We poked into a few different valleys, reaching the ridge at about 4250′. We saw a lot of recent natural loose activity (dry and wet). Winds started picking up in the early afternoon, and we saw a lot of snow transport along ridgelines.

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

There was a lot of recent natural loose activity, both dry and wet.

Increasing winds in the afternoon were transporting a lot of snow near ridgelines.

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

Partly cloudy, with some periods of really good visibility and other periods of very challenging visibility. Light winds increased significantly in the early afternoon, and we saw a lot of snow blowing off the peaks and ridgelines. Solar aspects remained dry all day.

Snow surface

6-8" new snow from this week. Solar aspects had a new breakable crust that was covered by a dusting of snow.


There were three layers of faceted snow in the upper 2' of the snowpack, but none of them were producing alarming test results in our test pit at 3200' on a W aspect:

Total depth 280 cm
ECTN15 at 20cm down from the surface
ECTN17 at 25 cm down
ECN27 at 40 cm down

Key take-homes were (1) the loose snow is picking up a good amount of volume and running far, (2) there are multiple weak layers in the upper snowpack that will likely be an issue when loaded, and (3) the winds were moving a LOT of snow around at upper elevations.

Photos & Video
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