Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Rode up to Seattle Ridge via the common up-track. There is one portion of the up-track that is still threatened with avalanche hazard from above (most of the Repeat Offender slide path has already slid but there is still one section intact above the up-track). We spent some time assessing the conditions and coming up with a plan to move through that portion quickly while watching each other. After making it up and getting a look around, conditions began to deteriorate. Strong winds picked up that were transporting snow and loading slopes. At this point, we turned around early to make it down in the same manner.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalAvalanche Type Hard Slab
Aspect WestElevation 2300ft
Slope AngleunknownCrown Depth6ft
Width 500ftVertical Rununknown
Avalanche Details

We got a quick look at the natural slab avalanche on Widowmaker slide path in 1st Bowl (Main Bowl) that released overnight on Wed, Feb 19th. It was estimated to have a crown from 3-8' thick and over 500' wide. The debris had large hard pieces in it also indicative of a hard slab composed of older snow. The avalanche took most of the path and pulled very close to the ridge.

Additionally, the front side Repeat Offender path was estimated at 3-6' thick and 2,500' wide. Running into small depressions and drainages below. Debris from this avalanche also hit the lower portion of the up-track (below the treeline).

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

Cracking in the fresh wind slab that was developing before our eyes. These were shallow, 6-8" thick.

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

Strong NW winds. Plumes and snow devils along ridge and could also be seen over on the non-motorized side.
Partly cloudy skies, temps near 20F.

Snow surface

Soft settled power in areas sheltered from the wind.
Significant wind effect - scouring and drifting along Seattle Ridge.

Snowpack

The several feet of new snow from last week has settled significantly and is fairly supportable. A boot sinks in around 16-24". No whumpfing felt/heard, but it's always difficult when on a machine to know.

No pits were dug today. It was clear looking at the old crowns from both Widowmaker path and Repeat Offender on the front side that they released in old snow, likely the January facets. Large hard chunks of debris composed of old snow were seen below both avalanches.

Photos & Video
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