Observation: Turnagain

Location: Cornbiscuit

Route & General Observations

We skinned to 2000′ to see how wet the snowpack was from 3 days of above freezing temperatures and rain. At this elevation there was less than an 1″ of new snow over wet snow that will likely freeze into a crust. Below 1400′ our boots sunk around 10″ deep into wet snow. Above 1400′ the snow was more supportable, leading us to believe the rain line was somewhere between 1400′ and 1600′. We encountered a wet layer of snow at the surface on west, south, and north aspects. Our pit tests did not have any concerning results. Our main concern was wet loose avalanches which were easy to trigger on small, steep test slopes. We did not see recent avalanche activity due to poor visibility.

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

Mostly cloudy skies with sunshine poking through. The heat from the sun seemed to get trapped below the clouds which heated us up as we skinned. Eventually the clouds got thicker, and temperatures seemed to cool off a little. We had calm winds, no precipitation and the temperature at the car read 37 F.

Snow surface

The snow surface was wet from the car to about 1600' and our ski's sunk in as we skinned. Above 1600' our skis did not sink in as deep which felt like the snow under our skis was dryer. At 1800', about 1cm of new snow was sitting over a saturated layer 2" thick that will likely freeze into a crust. Our skins got pretty caked with snow on the climb. The ski quality was good from 2000' to about 1600', then it turned into sloppy, slow riding.


In hand pits we noticed that the snow below 1400' was wet about 8 to 10" deep. Above 1600' the snow was wet about 4" deep. South aspects at 1800' were wetter with 10" to 12" of wet snow below the surface. We dug a pit at 2000' on a 28-degree northwest aspect. We did not find concerning results (CT22 x2 and ECTN 30 down 1' on a layer of buried surface hoar). The top 2" of wet snow slide easily into a small wet slab avalanche on a steep test slope.

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