Observation: Turnagain

Location: Spokane Creek/Granddaddy W Face

Route & General Observations

Toured up Spokane Creek to just below the W Face of Granddaddy Peak at 3,200 ft.

Temps around 3F with minimal wind at the car starting at 1100. Upon beginning tour there was 4 – 7 cm of freshly fallen snow, and it continued snowing lightly. Throughout the tour was intermittent light snowfall, temps low single digits, calm/light wind, bad visibility. At end of tour when transitioning around 1430, rest of storm came in and snowfall sharply picked up, winds increased a little, and visibility went from bad to horrible.

When entering Spokane Creek, and through the tour up the Spokane Creek valley, we had just enough visibility to see up the valley walls and only counted 3 glide cracks total. Though, I suppose we could’ve missed some if they were filled in by drifted snow and hard to decipher through the visibility. We also saw an old, mostly filled in D1, likely windslab avalanche below a small steep chute on Lipps.

The snow surface, beneath the new snow, was almost entirely breakable crust of various thicknesses, or knife hard impenetrable crust. When doing pole probe tests, and further visual inspection, we noted a layer of facets below the breakable crust. The frequency and thickness of that facet layer was variable – sometimes it was apparent enough to be felt by a pole probe, other times not.

The new snow was not bonding to the various crusts very well. On a ~45 degree test slope at 3,100 ft. that had about 10 – 15 cm of snow (more because drifted by the wind in that spot), I triggered a small dry loose avalanche without any effort.

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