Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Taylor Pass

Route & General Observations

Taylor Pass via the standard uptrack from the sunburst lot

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect South Southwest
Elevation 3700ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 6inWidth 30ft
Vertical Run 50ft  
Avalanche Details

Small windslab - as pictured below - that we assume was triggered by skiers descending from the sunburst ridgeline.

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

Light snow transport - with periods of moderate - along ridgelines, generally from SW winds.
Occasional light snow transport taking place mid slope on Sunburst, from SW or E winds that varied throughout the day.
Roller balls on steep, lower elevation slopes of Seattle Ridge

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

Temps near freezing down low, and the high 20s at the pass.

Broken skies with low clouds/valley fog that occasionally obscured the view at mid-elevations in the AM... Overcast skies by late afternoon.
Winds above 2000' were light and highly variable in direction, with moderate gusts from the SW and E above 3000'. Strong gusts at Taylor Pass.

Judging from snow transport, winds appeared to be moderate gusting strong throughout the day on nearby ridges/peaks.

Snow surface

2" of new snow covered the route, with wind transport reducing this to a trace at some locations above 2000'.

Prior winds have made a 'pillowed' texture even at the valley bottom between Sunburst and Magnum - see photo below - and last night's snow was soft over these rolling features... while winds have transported snow in the past 24 hours, clearly stronger winds have blown during the days before that.

A few spots along the route above 2000' had the New Years Crust near the surface of the snow, with just a light dusting of snow on top, also indicating the influence of winds since 12/28...


We dug two pits back by Taylor Pass, seeking out a thin spot where persistent grains below the New Years Crust would be present, and also checking on how recent wind slabs were bonding to older snow. See below for pit results and more details!

On a steep south facing slope around 1700', the 2" of new snow covered up a very thin and fragile sun crust that formed Sunday and/or Monday. Today, the snowpack was dry even to road level, and the sun was generally obscured.

Photos & Video
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