Observation: Turnagain

Location: Shark's Fin

Route & General Observations

We toured up to 1350′, right at the base of the main west-facing meadow. We dug a set of pits at 850′ and found weak layer of surface hoar buried about 18″ deep, just above a stout rain crust. We started noticing fresh wind slabs near the surface at around 1100′, and got a large collapse at 1350′. We dug a second round of pits to investigate, and found the same layer of buried surface hoar on top of a stout crust to be the culprit for the collapse. We decided not to keep going up the steep west-facing meadow.

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

Temperatures were in the low teens F, with light snowfall for most of the day. Winds were mostly calm, with an occasional breeze out of the southeast.

Snow surface

Crust up to 600'. 2-6" soft snow from 600-1100', with little to no wind effect. Fresh wind slabs and scoured surfaces above 1100'.


The weak layers in the upper 1.5' of the snowpack seemed to be more reactive today than they had on Eddie's, Tincan, Sunburst, or Pete's recently. The main layer of concern was a layer of surface hoar buried 1-1.5' deep, sitting on a stout rain crust (see photo). We got poor stability test results on this layer, and also got a large collapse on it once we stepped on a fresh wind slab. Both sets of pits (850' and 1350') were very similar. See snowpilot profile for more details.

Photos & Video
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