Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Tour up to Tincan to look at the new snow and how the buried layers of surface hoar are reacting.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

Wind transporting snow above 2,000 feet, did not travel to these windy higher elevation areas (high point today was 2,500'). No obvious signs of instability observed below 2,000'.

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

Cloudy skies with limited visibility.
Temps in the low 20's F in parking lot, low teens at 2,500'.
Winds gusty, blowing 10-20mph with stronger gusts above 2,000'. Winds also blowing snow off trees at the lower elevations at times.
No precipitation.

Snow surface

From the parking lot to 2,500' : 12" of loose low-density snow from last night (12/25).


We dug several snowpits to look at two layers of buried surface hoar sit 12 and 14" ish below the surface.
Pit 1: 1,500', HS 75cm, W facing. Pit 2: 2,200', SE facing. Pit 3: 2,500', S facing.
In all pits the lower layer (Solstice Surface Hoar) was the weaker of the two and regularly failed during shovel shear tests and compression tests (see video). The snow above the layer is so loose that it is not a slab and compression tests are not the best way to tease out the weak layer at this point. The second layer of buried surface hoar is from Christmas and sits 1-3" above the Solstice Surface Hoar.

Quick hand pits at 1,200' revealed the Solstice surface hoar sitting on a crust under 12-14" of soft snow.

Because the snow over the buried surface hoar is so loose and non-cohesive there was not a slab to create an avalanche issue in the areas were traveled. We did not travel above 2,500' where the winds were quite active, windloading prevalent and wind slabs were likely to be touchy.

Photos & Video
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