Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst top of treeline

Route & General Observations

Rounding out 2016 with the last day of our Turnagain Level One, we pre-determined to stick to meadow-skipping on Sunburst after witnessing the wind event yesterday. At 2,000 feet a four inch wind slab was evident and all terrain above exhibited anti-tracks from the South to North wind of the day before. All parties who passed us to ski the upper elevations reported back very “wind-hardened” snow. Dug 8 quick pits at 2,000 West aspect and found HS depths from 75-115, all with very clear visible 3 persistent weak layers: two buried surface layers and the melt-freeze crust on the basal facets. We had one impressive CT28SC that collapsed all three layers at the same time. ECTs were consistently propagating in the low 20’s on the December 24th BSH

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect North
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

As a course, we noticed three new wind slab avalanches: Elevator shaft on North facing Sunburst, South facing Tincan Proper, and cross-loaded on Seattle Ridge.

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?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Recent avalanches on aspects impacted by wind.

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

Calm day, milk bird in middle of day.

Snow surface

Slight sastrugi starting from parking lot and getting progressively stiffer until a micro 4" wind slab in pockets at 2,000 ft.


Poor structure with three persistent weak layers visible to the naked eye at treeline, not always consistently reactive. Didn't get to any elevations to test wind slabs.

Photos & Video
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