Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Tour up Sunburst ridge to see the extent of damage from the rain yesterday and take a look at how the buried surface hoar is reacting under the New Year’s snow.

We only made it to 2300′ due to poor visibility and dangerous avalanche conditions.

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
Observer Comments

One collapse around 2,000'.

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

Obscured skies. Light snowfall (1cm per hour). Light Southerly winds above alderline. 32F at parking lot and around 30F at 2,300'. Warm snow day.

Snow surface

3" of new moist snow at 2,300' (2" in parking lot).


Wet snow and crusty conditions exist below 2,000' - with a 2" dusting of new snow on top. Difficult skiing.

Above 2,000':
12-14" dense new snow from Dec 31st through today (crusts from rain over New Year's disappear around 2,000'). Buried surface hoar (BSH) was reactive under the new snow. See video. Pit results:
ECTP 11, 12, 12, 15 all failing in BSH 12 - 14" deep. Sudden collapse.
Surface hoar was 5mm to 1cm in size and was sitting on a 1cm layer of near surface facets. Under the facets was a breakable melt freeze crust.

Bottom line: Poor snowpack stability.

Photos & Video
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