Observation: Turnagain

Location: Cornbiscuit

Route & General Observations

Skinned up to 3,400′ on Cornbiscuit to check out surface conditions as well as lingering weak layers that had been producing avalanches. The southern slopes still had concerning results in our pit and on northern slopes the snow was soft and did not have concerning layers. In wind affected areas there was unreactive wind slabs around 4″ deep. We also saw weak snow on the surface that may become a concern in the future. We did not see recent avalanche activity but with the approaching weather, snow conditions may become more reactive over the next few days.

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

Cloudy skies with sunshine increased in the afternoon. There was a steady wind on the ridge from the northeast that was not transporting snow and helped cool the snow surface. It was warm at the parking lot and on south and west slopes the snow surface temperatures measured above freezing. North slopes were shaded and cooler.

Snow surface

At 11am the snow at the parking lot was already warming up. Shaded terrain features were soft with 2 to 5" of moist snow over a stout crust. Halfway up Cornbiscuit on a west slope the snow was soft with a thin crust, or a wind slab up to 4" deep on the leeward side of ridges. Near the top we moved to a south slope which had a firm but skinnable crust on the surface. On west and north slopes there was a weak layer on the surface that may become an issue in the future.


We dug two pits. At 3000' on a southwest slope, we had concerning results (CT23 and ECTP22 SC) down 1.5' (40cm) deep on a weak layer of facets and surface hoar. This aligns with a weak layer that was buried on 4/9 that is still worth looking out for as spring conditions approach. Warmer days where the surface does not refreeze overnight, or rain can quickly increase avalanche hazards which may "wake up" these weak layers. We dug another pit on a north aspect at 2700' which did not produce concerning results in our pit tests (ECTX).

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