Observation: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge, -2 Bowl and -3 Bowl

Route & General Observations

Motorized uptrack from the weather station lot to the ridge above Zero Bowl. Skied a lap in -2 and -3 bowls. Lots of general obs to make:

– Hoar frost on everything everywhere
– Encountered a scary snowpack above 3,000ft on the knob separating -1 and -2 bowls. Very hollow sounding. Dug some hand pits (HS 60cm) and found a 1/2-3/4″ supporting crust over a layer cake of alternating thinner weak crusts and loose dry facets, including basal facets. Didn’t do any stability tests, but the snowpack basically fell apart once the top layer was broken. No propagation, no energy. We got off that slope and tried not to expose ourselves to fall lines with consequences near it.
– Western aspects in -2 bowl has obviously had several major avalanche cycles flushing the full line, followed by some more recent cornice collapses, and now there are some recent small point releases in the new lightly wind deposited snow.
– Recent thin wind slab crowns were seen on North and West aspects.
– Below 2,400ft to 1,700ft in -2 Bowl we found many areas of recent stiff wind slab over a hollow base. The slab was supportive to skiers, but could be fractured with ski poles. The areas were never more than about 30ft in any direction, very isolated pockets in small depressions and rolls. Slope angles in this area were below 25deg.
– Seattle Creek Headwall had numerous point release sloughs all over it, but I did not notice any evidence of larger slides from the last cycle.
– Lots of soft wind deposited snow in the SE facing gullies skiers’ right of Repeat Offender, did not find any recent wind slab on the surface there.
– Ski tracks in all bowls produced thin surface sloughs that ran full length on slopes over 30deg.

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

Clear and calm, inversion temps.

Snow surface

Well developed hoar frost on all aspects at all elevations. Hoar frost is much bigger on the road side of the ridge than on the creek side. Under the frost is everything from a rock hard frozen wind pack, to softly drifted recycled pow over a decent edgeable crust.


One area of dry loose basal facets found above 3,000 ft on a small slope. Otherwise see Joe Kurtak's ob from yesterday for typical findings in hand pits below 2,500ft. Some small areas of scary wind slab found below 2,400ft on west facing aspects on the creek side of the ridge.

Photos & Video
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