Observation: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Route & General Observations

Sunburst standard SW ridge up to 3,400’

Overcast skies with diminishing visibility throughout the day. Winds calm,
temps in the low to mid 20s F, light snow with trace-1” accumulation.

Obvious Signs of Instability
Recent Avalanches-NO
Shooting Cracks-NO

Surface Observations
Some minor wind loading occurred most likely in the early morning hours along
the ridgecrest of Sunburst. Pockets were 2-3” thick and not connected enough to
produce shooting cracks. Otherwise 4-6” of low density snow sitting on a firm
and supportable slab above 2,000’. Below 2,000’ was 2-3” of snow sitting on
firm surfaces. Below 1,500’ was 1-2” of snow on a rain crust.

Snow Below the Surface
The buried surface hoar layer is becoming slightly more difficult to detect in
our pits. Variability in test scores within the same pit was significant, in
that it could be easy to miss this layer if you were not clued into it and had
not been tracking this layer. In our pit at 3,400’ I was unable to see the
layer initially and had no result in my first test (ECTX). Digging upslope to
perform a second test the layer was very obvious and produced results (ECTP24
SC) 2 feet/60cm down. (See video)

Pit #1 – 3,400’, W aspect, 34 degree slope
ECTP24 SC 60cm down on 5mm Surface hoar
PST 55/100 (End)
The slab in this location is 1F+ hardness, very dense, and can potentially
support a lot of weight.

Pit #2 – 2,800’, W aspect, 30 degree slope
ECTP 30 SC 55cm down on 4mm Surface Hoar
We dug in this location on Dec 17th and had scores in the 10-20 range. The weak
layer is gaining strength based on this comparison of scores.

Photos & Video
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