Observation: Turnagain

Location: Cornbiscuit

Route & General Observations

We toured up Cornbiscuit to see how the snowpack is responding to the recent loading event. We stayed down in the low-angle terrain in the alders because we don’t trust that January weak layer yet. We initiated two large collapses while we were skinning, and got poor test results in our snowpits. These are all clear signs showing us the snowpack is still unstable, and we felt good about staying in mellow terrain for the day.


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

We got two collapses as we were skinning up, between 1000' and 2000'. We stopped and dug a snowpit at the second collapse and were not surprised to find the January facet layer to be the culprit.

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

Skies started out partly cloudy, with noticeable blowing snow along ridgetops but light easterly winds down near treeline. Clouds increased through the day and by around 2:30 pm we were in a cloud.

Snow surface

There was around 6" very light snow on top of another 8" or so of slightly stiffer new snow.


We dug four different pits between 1600' and 2000' elevation and got mixed results in stability tests. Half of the pits were giving us poor stability results (ECTP11, ECTP20) on the January facet layer, but the other half did not give us alarming results (ECTN26, ECTX).

The January facet layer looks to be rounding, but is clearly still weak. See attached photos for grain details. We'll still be treading lightly above this weak layer for a while, especially with another round of wind and snow on the way.

Photos & Video
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