Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Seattle Ridge (Warmup/-1 Bowl)

Route & General Observations

Seattle Ridge up-track to investigate avalanche reported in Warmup Bowl.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SnowmachinerRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Northwest
Elevation 3000ftSlope Angle 36deg
Crown Depth 20inWidth 250ft
Vertical Run 450ft  
Avalanche Details

This avalanche was triggered remotely by a snowmachine from ridge on Jan 2nd, 2019. Weak layer was buried surface hoar (3-6mm in size). Crown depth varied from 1' to 2.5'. Slope angle was ~42 degrees at steepest and 24 degrees near the crown/ridge.

This was the only avalanche activity we saw.

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

Avalanche reported was the only obvious sign of instability seen.

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

Mostly sunny, temps in the teens, very light northerly winds.

Snow surface

Top 6" was very soft loose snow from late on January 1st. Under this was a denser snow from the New Year's Storm cycle.


We dug at the crown face and the left flank of the avalanche (3,000' and 2,800'). The slab was 4finger hardness at the top and pencil+ hardness above the weak layer. Bed surface was also pencil+ hardness. No results at the crown in stability tests. At the flank we had a CT 24 that broke 14" down in buried surface hoar (BSH). The CT was not a clean break and the BSH was very hard to detect. It was also hard to detect and sandwiched between softer snow (1 finger) lower on sloper. Last, several ECTX's in many quick pits along the flank.

Pit #3 was in Triangle (-2) Bowl AT 2,900' on a NW aspect. We found the BSH yet was small and hard again to detest. It was very stubborn on shovel shear tests and we did not perform loading tests.

Bottom line: We had a difficult time finding the buried surface hoar. It seems to be very 'pockety' in nature and not present and/or not reactive in many places, especially in areas with softer snow away from ridgelines. That said, it is quite concerning this avalanche was triggered so easily the day before.

Photos & Video
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