Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Common up track on Tincan to the top of the treeline. High point 2,500′.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

No obvious signs of instability in the trees.

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

Overcast, to obscure, to some broken sky cover through the day.
Light to moderate snowfall was in and out with the clouds.
Winds were light with some gusts around 10-15mph from the east and west of all things along the lower exposed ridge of Tincan (2,500).
Temperatures were in the 20'sF.

Snow surface

8-10" of new low density snow. This is from both Thursday morning's snow (4-5") along with today's snowfall (4-5").


How is the new snow bonding with the surface from midweek (surface hoar and near surface facets)? That was today's big question. It turned out to be difficult to assess because the new snow was so loose and non-cohesive. It would sluff off short steep slopes and was not acting like a slab. We attempted to find a wind slab along the lower Tincan ridge in poor visibility, but it seems the winds were not strong enough to form slabs along the ridge where we traveled.

Two pit tests were done:
Pit 1 @ 2,500', total snow depth was past the probe, over 12' deep; only dug a few feet down.
ECTX, CT 7 on 4-5mm buried surface hoar (BSH) 8" deep. The BSH sat on fist hard near surface facets (NSF).

Pit 2 @ 1,575', did not measure snow depth, dug just a couple feet down.
ECTN 13 and CT 12 on buried surface hoar (5-7mm) 10" deep. The BSH sat on a 5cm layer of 4 finger NSF that sat on a 5mm breakable crust. The buried crust appeared to go away right around 1,600'.

The take home is, if the new snow becomes cohesive and forms a slab it should be quite touchy; from either wind or settlement. Also, where it's not a slab and still loose, it should create large sluffs on steeps sustained slopes; these could entrain a significant amount of snow.

Photos & Video
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