Observation: Turnagain

Location: Moose Mountain

Route & General Observations

Went in search of different tree skiing areas for storm days, and to see what the snowpack was like in the transitional zone between South Turnagain and Summit.

We parked at the lot near 58 mile and started skinning just across the highway. Low visibility, mature hemlock forest, and little idea of where we were actually going had us turned around and doing circles as we made our way up. We made it to 1900’ before it was time to ski. Our route down trended more northeasterly which made for a much more fall line run.

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 had a few large whumphs below 1000’ that we suspect were alders rather than collapsing weak layers.

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

Light snow throughout the day, 1-2” accumulated during our five hour escapade. Winds were light and variable and temps were in the mid twenties.

Snow surface

The new snow was quite fluffy and light. Around 18” sat on top of the old snow which made skinning rigorous and skiing pleasurable. It seemed as though there had not been any warm up during yesterday’s storm as the snowpack was dry and right side up.


We dug two snow pits at 1900’ on a northeast facing slope. The total height of snow was 145 cm. The thanksgiving crust sat 85 cm down from the surface and was 3-4 cm thick. The snow above it was right side up going from fist to 4 finger hardness. Below the crust the snow went from 1 finger to pencil plus with no facets or moist snow found at the ground.

Test results revealed a weakness within the thanksgiving crust, down 85 cm. When the blocks failed, part of the crust was attached to both the bottom of the piece that slid off, as well as the piece of the column that remained. The compression test results were moderate, ct 12 and ct 19. There was full propagation in both pits with ectp 21 and ectp 27.

Photos & Video
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