Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Toured up to the Tincan ridgeline to a high point around 3,400′. Observed several natural avalanches. Some were shallow wind slabs, from last night’s wind event, and others were 2′ deep slabs, suspected to have broke in weaker layers deeper in the snowpack. This activity occurred since Wednesday morning.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

The evidence of several natural avalanches were seen today when skies opened just enough for the sun to poke out.
-Three winds slabs around a foot thick that were partly covered up by winds.
-Tincan's CFR ridgeline, SW facing, 2,200'.
- Tincan's Hippy Bowl, SW facing around 3,400'.
- Magnum West face, around 2,200'.
- Storm slabs, releasing in deeper layers (slabs around 2 feet thick).
- Sunburst's lower N shoulder, 2,200'
- Tincan's north chutes, 3,400'
- Magnum's west upper west face, 3,300'

There were also several small slabs and sluffs that fain the steep Seattle ridge chutes to the south of the up-track.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

We had several large whumpfs near 1,700'.

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

Light snowfall and obscured skies till around 1pm. Sun slowly made an appearance in the afternoon and snowfall ceased.
Winds were light from the north (and cold).
Temperatures were near 20F in the parking lot and in the single digits along the ridgetop.

Snow surface

Very soft powder snow in areas not affected by last night's winds.
Wind effect was very prevalent near treeline and above treeline. Skiing was challenging as a variable wind crust (1 to 8") covered many of the exposed slopes.
Roughly 6-8" of new snow since Wednesday morning.


There were two issues of concern today in the snowpack. The first was how the wind affected the new snow and the second was the reactivity of the buried weak layers.

New snow issues: The new snow had distinct wind effect above treeline. Although a few natural wind slabs occurred last night, we could not get any wind slabs to crack out on us today.

Deeper in the pack issues: We dug two pits at 2,200' and one at 3,300'. We found the layers of facets and buried surface hoar around 20-30" below the surface. In some tests the buried surface hoar and facets reacted and in others they didn't. Worthy of note is much of the terrain had prior tracks and does not represent areas that have seen less travel this month. The storm snow from the past 10 days is still so loose that it is not acting like a slab and crumbles under the shovel.

3,300', SW, 180cm snow depth: ECTP 30 down 65cm on buried surface hoar/facets.
2,200' SE, 140cm snow depth: ECTP 21 down 14" on a hardness change (the top of the 1/20 storm snow). ECTN 17 at the same layer.

Photos & Video
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