Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Silvertip

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Toured up and skied the east face of silvertip. Beautiful day with clear views of the volcanoes across Cook Inlet, Denali, and the Northern Chugach. Good skiing too. We had a great time.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SnowboarderAvalanche Type Soft Slab
Aspect East SoutheastElevation 4800ft
Slope Angle 35degCrown Depthunknown
Width 100ftVertical Run 250ft
Near Miss / Accident Details
Avalanche Details

We observed numerous d1.5-2.5 avalanches that failed on the basal facets that we suspect ran in wind loaded areas during the previous wet and windy storm. Most were on north and west slopes between 2800’-4200’ and were the full depth of the snowpack. They were in featured terrain, below ridge lines, or in shallow rocky zones.

We skied a few hundred feet down the ridge from the peak to skirt around thinner snow with exposed rocks. We still managed to find some shallow rocks and the second rider made a small (100’ wide) but full depth (1.5’-4’ deep) avalanche.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

There were no obvious signs of instability. We witnessed numerous older avalanches and suspected that avalanches could be touchy in shallower rocky areas. It seemed that weaker snow at the bottom of the snowpack was waiting for a trigger in this zone.

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

Valley fog starting out and cold, around 10f.
We climbed above the fog at around 2000’ to beautiful December sunlight.
Temp in the teens with winds light and variable, blowing west 10-15mph above 4500’.

Snow surface

Fluffy and fun.

Some riming down low in the fog zone, and some good sized (up to 1cm) surface hoar observed.

Snowpack

2-6” of soft snow on top of a stout 2” rain crust below 2500’. The crust progressively broke down climbing above that with up to 8-12” of pow.

No formal snowpack test performed or snow depths taken.

Photos & Video
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