Observation: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge

Route & General Observations

Quick ride up to Seattle Ridge for a look around at what the warm temperatures have been doing at Turnagain Pass. Short answer is: thin wet layer on surface that will soon freeze (1cm thick at most, and to ridgetop).

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

Mostly cloudy, graybird most the day.
Winds breezy at times from the NW along the ridge.
Temps near 32F in the parking lot and upper 30'sF on ridge.

Snow surface

A 1cm, or less, layer of wet snow from the warm ambient air temperatures. The 4-5" under this was dense moist settled snow that was either soft or hard from prior wind effect.

Significant signs of scouring and loading from the winds several days ago.


We could not find any reactive wind slabs or weaknesses in the top few feet of the snow cover. There were some slopes with rollerballs on the surface from the warm temperatures, but no avalanches seen due to the warming. There were some old wind slabs from the winds last week that we could barely discern in the poor light.

One snowpit on a NE slope at 2,800'. Snow depth was 220cm (7 feet).
We dug to the Halloween crust as it was only 100cm below the surface and tested the pack down to the facets above the crust.
ECTX (even big boot kicks would not get the facets, or anything rather, to fail)
CTX (a couple boot kicks and the CT failed in the facets right above the crust)
PST 50/100 end down 100cm (this test was done with the saw in the facets right above the crust)

The slab was ~80-90cm thick with ~20cm's of old hard facets over the crust. The weakest facets seemed to be directly above the crust. In general, the facets were 1 finger plus to pencil in hardness. The slab was knife to pencil on the bottom half and 4 finger just under the wet surface.

Photos & Video
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