Observation: Turnagain

Location: Cornbiscuit

Route & General Observations

Toured up Bertha Creek and stopped at about 2000′ on the north face of Lipps and 2500′ on the SW face of Cornbiscuit to check on surface conditions and upper snowpack stability.

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

Almost all the gullies along the SE face of Seattle Ridge had some debris from glide avalanches.

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

Mostly sunny with occasional clouds and calm to light winds. Temperatures were getting pretty warm in the afternoon, especially on steep south facing terrain but I left before the heat of the day peaked.

Snow surface

Firm and thick melt freeze crust at lower elevations on all aspects I traveled on. The crust was 20+ cm thick on the approach and so frozen I could not break through it with a ski pole or boot. On northern aspects the crust was much thinner (2-3 cm at 2000') with dry snow underneath, and it is likely that the crust would go away entirely on steep north facing terrain at higher elevations.


I dug a pit on a north aspect at 2000' and found an overall right side up snowpack with only one notable weak layer of facets about 15 cm beneath the surface underneath the melt freeze surface crust. Below that the snowpack was dry and solid for the top meter. The weak layer of facets did not propagate in an ECT (ECT N 12).

By 2 pm the south and southeast facing terrain between 1500-2500' had boot penetration about ankle deep and it was starting to get easy to punch through the bottom of the crust with a ski pole. The west facing terrain had just started to soften and the corn was still pretty al dente. I did not see any new wet loose avalanches out of the steep south facing rocky terrain, but I'm guessing some started coming down naturally later in the afternoon and evening.

Photos & Video
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