Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Hiked with skis on packs to ~1600′ to where there was enough snow to skin. Skinned up the Sunburst ridge to a high point of ~3400′.

Partly cloudy skies turning to obscured with the leading edge of a storm rolling in. Light snow began to fall around 1pm with light NE winds (moderate gusts on ridge). Temperatures in the mid 20’sF on ridge and warming. Temps warmed to the mid 30’s at the parking lot by 4pm.

Obvious signs of instability:
Recent Avalanches – No
Collapsing – No
Cracking – No

Snow surface:
Widespread surface hoar (1-2cm) has developed during the past 4 days at all elevations. This was just beginning to be covered up this afternoon with light snow. Surface hoar is a notorious “persistent weak layer” and once buried with new snow will be the primary concern. See photos/video.

– 1,500-3,000′: 1cm Surface hoar sits intact and upright on a stout rain crust that goes from several cm thick to very thin with increasing elevation.

– Above 3,000′: 2cm Surface hoar sits intact and upright on soft settled powder (5 days old) that is 4Finger hardness.

Snow depths:
1,000′ – only a trace of snow
2,000′ – 12-18″ (melt-freeze supportable crust)
3,400′ – 3,000′, 2-3′ soft settled powder – good skiing

Primary concerns today:
1) Below 3,000′, challenging skiing on variable, teeth-chattering, crust
2) Avoiding frozen rollerballs, between 3,000′ and 2,000′, in flat light
3) Slippery icy down-hiking to parking lot

Photos & Video
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