Observation: Turnagain, Girdwood

Location: Magnum West Face 2900'

Route & General Observations

AM – Rescue Clinic at Motorized parking lot. A big thanks to all who participated. From parking lot could see a lot of recent high marking on the East face of Seattle and several small (d1) snowmachine triggered point releases below 2000′. Lots of wet loose rollerballs by 11am on Seattle.

PM – ski toured up Magnum’s NW shoulder for a quick look around. From Sunburst parking lot could see a skier triggered D2 wind slab avalanche on the shaded North aspect of Cornbiscuit. See photo. On the W face of Magnum there was a skier triggered point release from yesterday, looked like it occurred near the end of storm. Lots of small roller ball point releases on Solar aspect (SE – SW). On the drive home could see a skier triggered wet loose avalanche that covered a snow machine track just above the ‘up track’ on Seattle. There were several natural D2 wind slabs on W aspects near Portage.

Glide Avalanches – S.aspect of Sharks Fin, N. aspect of Eddies, SE aspect of Raggedtop.

Report of several D1 snowmachiner wind slabs in Seattle Creek bowls.

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

Skier triggered D2 windslab - N aspect of Cornbiscuit
Skier triggered wet loose - SE aspect of Seattle
Skier triggered dry loose - W aspect of Magnum

Natural wind slabs - Portage - W aspect of Mountain between Portage Valley and Skookum
Glides Avalanches - Turnagain (S.aspect of Sharks Fin, N. aspect of Eddies) Girdwood (SE aspect of Raggedtop.)

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

Clear and sunny
Highs in the low 40's F
Light winds from the East
No precip

Snow surface

1000-1300' - light crust on new 6" new snow
above 1400' - 8-13" new low density snow - depths and density varied on leeward/windward/protected areas
Steep solar aspects - wet loose poorly bonded snow


Was interested in the new snow/old snow interface on North shaded aspects after seeing the skier triggered windslab on the N. side of Cornbiscuit. Dug several hand pits with moderate to hard results, and varying sheer qualities. Dug a test plus pit at 2300' on a NW aspect and slab failed on density change from pencil to 4F, but did not propagation. ECTN12 failed new snow/wind crust layer. Slab thickness was 13".

Second observer dug a test plus pit 100' away and found similar results, except new snow/old snow interface was (near surface facets.)

Photos & Video
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