Avalanche: Summit

Location: Tenderfoot

Route & General Observations

We toured up Tenderfoot to see if we could get more information about snow conditions above 3000’. Unfortunately, it was so windy, and visibility was so poor we topped out at 2900’. With blowing northeast winds we saw scouring to the crust on north aspects and actively forming wind slabs on west, south, and east aspects. Our main concerns today were fresh wind slabs forming just below ridgelines. We did trigger a small wind slab on a west aspect!

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect West
Elevation 2600ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 12inWidth 30ft
Vertical Run 30ft  
Avalanche Details

We tested a small steep slope on west aspect that had been loaded with snow. The slab propagated ~30', settling around 30' below us. It was good confirmation that the amount of snow rapidly being transported had created a touchy wind slab that was ready to release. We are fairly certain it failed on the Thanksgiving crust.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

Active wind loading west, south, and east aspects.

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

Visibility was limited due to the low clouds. It was snowing steadily while we were there, with blowing winds from the northeast. We saw active loading all along our skin track, with winds really picking up as we climbed in elevation. Temps were in the mid 20’s F.

Snow surface

Snow surface was soft settled powder from the parking lot up to 2600’. Above that, the surface was either scoured or stiffer in wind effected areas.


We dug in a wind protected area on a north aspect at 2850’. We found 4’ of snow on the ground with the Thanksgiving crust buried 2’ deep. There were no alarming test results. That being said, crust layers can become a problem in the future so we will be watching it closely in the days and weeks to come.

Photos & Video
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