Observation: Turnagain

Location: Corn Biscuit

Route & General Observations

Magnum/ Corn biscuit parking lot thru the Forest across the powerline, across the INH Trail up the west ridge of Corn Biscuit to 3,250′.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No red flags observed.

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

34 degrees (11AM) at the highway. Snowing lightly at road level with no accumulation. 30 degrees (2PM) at 3,250' and snowing off and on with accumulation of less than 2 inches.
Winds were light (>5mph). Headed back to the parking lot, temps were increasing and the rain/ snow line moved up to around 1800' by 3PM.

Snow surface

1K - 1800': Trace minus of new snow on bare ground.
1800 - 2600': ~1" new snow on very supportable (pencil hard) crust.
2600- 3200': 1-2" new snow on a decomposing crust.
**Pockets of isolated wind slabs (3-4") in the upper elevations especially near exposed ridges. We could feel these today but they were not reactive.

Skiing was consistent dust on crust pretty much from our high point at 3250' to about 1800' where we ran out of snow.


Pit #1: 2100' on West aspect. HS= 85cm
30cm pencil hard melt freeze crust over 4F facets. High strength, poor structure. Would need a substantial load (like explosives) to effect this weak layer of facets at this elevation.

Pit #2: 2,800' NW aspect. 35 degree slope. HS = 130cm
ECTP23, ECTP25. Fx character= sudden planar. Failure plane was 50cm down on small facets above mid January melt/ freeze crust.
Test results show moderate to high strength and high energy. Of note: Fitz dug a pit and did a series of ECT's 30 feet away with very uninspiring results (ECTN's).

Pit #3: 3,250' WSW aspect. 31 degree slope. HS = 150cm
ECTP13, ECTP13, ECTP15. Fx character= sudden planar. Failure plane was 35cm down on small facets/ mixed grains (change in density). Test results from this upper elevation pit show poor to moderate strength and high energy. Again, Fitz dug very near my pit location with very different results (more ECTN's).

I was able to find more unstable snow in my pits today but given our data points throughout the day it appears that there is a high level of structural variability across a given slope. Though our snowpack is generally gaining strength each day, persistent weak layers still lurk in the snowpack and are proving reactive in test results telling me it's still very much a 'yellow light' situation.

Photos & Video
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