Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Ascended to 2930′ on Sunburst via the standard uptrack and skied the west ridge down.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments


Weather & Snow Characteristics
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0920 at Sunburst lot: 23 degrees F, calm winds, low valley fog overhead, no precipitation
1230 at 2930': teens, light winds, clear with valley fog below, no precipitation
1330 at Sunburst lot: 23 degrees, calm winds, low valley fog overhead, no precipitation
1350 at Tincan lot: 21 degrees, calm winds, clear to the North, low lying valley fog to the South, no precipitation

Snow surface

2-3" of new snow has fallen from the last storm. I was able to find the Feb. 5 buried surface hoar (BSH) up to around alder line beneath this new snow. Above alder line (>2500') the snow is heavily tracked out and I could not find the Feb. 5 BSH. I know from touring on Sunday the 4th prior to the new snow, that the surface hoar had been knocked down in Superbowl and in Gold Pan. The Feb. 5 BSH may just be skied out or have been knocked over by the wind.

Along the standard uptrack above alder line, I found 2-3" of new snow on variable surfaces. Most of the older surfaces were wind slabs of varying thickness (5"-1') and hardness (1F-4F). There were also many pockets of fist hard faceted snow beneath the new snow. As you moved farther out on the W aspect away from the uptrack, the snow was far less wind affected. Skiing down the snow was light and of the "cold smoke" variety and I wasn't able to find any breakable or hard wind slabs on my descent.


Handpits along the ascent revealed the Feb. 5 BSH buried under light new snow below alder line. Above alder line handpits showed slab formation in leeward areas along the uptrack that failed under isolation, easy, and moderate force. Slab failures occured on facets beneath the slabs or intact 1 cm+ BSH that I believe was the Jan. 21 BSH.

We dug two pits along the ridge at 2930'. Pit info below:

Pit 1: Closer to ridgeline than pit 2, 2940'. HS=210 cm, SW aspect, CT11 & 14 Q1, ECTP, and PST 65/100 END down 30 cm on 6-9 mm BSH (I believe its the Jan. 21 BSH, and not the Feb. 5 BSH). The slab was 4F hard.

Pit 2: Below Pit 1, further down the slope from the uptrack at 2930'. HS= 145 cm, W aspect, Shovel Shear Q3 easy down 27 cm on 1 cm Jan. 21 BSH. Shovel Shear Q1 moderate down 45 cm on 2mm facets between melt freeze crusts. CT2 Q2 and CT21 Q3 down 27 cm on 1 cm Jan. 21 BSH. CT22 & 23 Q2 down 45 cm on 2mm facets between melt freeze crusts. ECTN 14 down 27 cm on Jan. 21 BSH. ECTP 21 down 45 cm on 2mm facets between melt freeze crusts.

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