Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Toured up to treeline to take a look at storm totals from today and see how this week’s snow is behaving on top of the New Year’s crust/facet combination. The drive up was wet and wild, with heavy rain up to about 750′ and heavy snow in the parking lot. I dug pits at 1660′ and 2400′, finding 14-18″ new snow from today, and 24-30″ from this week. It seemed the layer of cold, dry snow from the beginning of the 1.10 storm was still reactive today, with propagating test results and small storm slabs breaking on that layer on small, steep rolls. On some slopes the storm slabs were breaking lower on the facets above the New Year’s 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?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Shooting cracks and small avalanches releasing on steep rolls in the trees. I also saw debris from larger avalanches in the paths along the Seward Highway near Girdwood.

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

Heavy snow all day, with about 4" accumulation on the truck during the 3.5 hours I was out. Barely any wind below 2000', with sustained moderate winds blowing snow starting at treeline.

Snow surface

Deep. Like almost too deep to move. Shoutout to the folks that put the skin track in. 14-18" dense snow from the past 24 hours, with 24-30" from this week. Happy to see it stay all snow all the way back down to the highway, although the new snow was moist below about 1500'.


I dug two pits down to just below the NY crust:

Pit 1 (SW aspect, 1660'):
-14" new snow
- 24" snow since 1.10
- NY crust buried 30" deep
-250 cm total depth
I got poor stability results on a layer of stellars from the 1.10 storm (ECTP16) and on top of the facets above the New Year's crust (ECTP24). Both of these layers were breaking on test slopes nearby.

Pit 2 (SW aspect, 2400'):
- 20" new snow, including some slight wind loading
- 30" snow since 1.10
- NY crust buried almost 3' deep
- 315 cm total depth
I was surprised not to get any propagating results in this pit. I did get two ECTN's on the same layers as Pit 1. This pit was on a convex roll just above the bead stream station at the top of the trees.

Photos & Video
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