Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Ascended Tincan veering slightly southwest off the standard uptrack and descended the trees. Our focus for the day was to investigate how surface conditions were changing with the storm rolling in. Above treeline the wind was moderate, gusting to strong, with wind actively loading leeward areas. During our tour it snowed lightly on and off, accumulating an inch in spots. Skiing conditions were really quite good, with soft conditions all the way down from our highpoint at ~2500 ft.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

Wind loading on leeward slopes above treeline.

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

1100, Tincan Pullout: 23 degrees F, wind NE calm to light, snowing lightly, sky obscured
1400, 2500' ridge below Common: 16 degrees F, wind ENE moderate to strong, snowing ~1 cm/hour, sky overcast to obscured
1500, Tincan Pullout: 26 degrees F, wind N calm to light, NO precip, sky overcast to obscured

Snow surface

Trace to 1" of new snow had fallen during our tour over surface hoar from 3 mm to 2 cm in size (decreasing in size with increasing elevation). Above treeline soft wind slabs were beginning to form in leeward areas. The surface hoar was still standing during our tour below treeline, and was knocked over in some areas above treeline due to the winds. The surface hoar is on top of near surface facets sitting over hard wind slabs or melt freeze crusts above treeline.


We dug several pits at 2500 ft on a SW aspect on a 35-37 degree slope. A pit located in a wind loaded area resulted in a CT 15 Q3 down 25 cm in a layer of 0.5-1 mm facets sandwiched between two melt freeze crusts. The same layer failed in a wind scoured area at CT15 Q3. The height of snow was 120 cm to 140 cm on the slope we dug. Of note, the snowpack has dried out quite a bit, 3mm surface hoar was found intact under the new snow and recently wind loaded snow, and the 2mm Thanksgiving facets near the base of the pack were quite compressed and P+ hard.

Photos & Video
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