Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Tincan

Route & General Observations

Toured around the Tincan trees checking out storm totals and hunting for buried surface hoar. We found the layer of BSH in most, but not all hand pits along the way. We never went above treeline because visibility was poor. We triggered a decent sized wind slab on a steep rollover with a ski cut. The crown was 6″-2′ deep, failing on the interface between the old snow and a thick wind slab that likely formed sometime since the weather started acting up on Thursday. There were some really small surface hoar crystals on the bed surface where the slab failed. We also got some shooting cracks on similar terrain features throughout the day. New snow totals were around 4-6″.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect West
Elevation 1600ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown Depth 12inWidth 70ft
Vertical Run 50ft  
Avalanche Details

Triggered with a ski cut on top of a steep roll. We were surprised how thick the slab was considering how low the storm totals have been here. In some places the crown was close to 2' deep, but average depth was around a foot. Nobody caught or carried.


Red Flags
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Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

No natural avalanches, just the one we intentionally triggered. Visibility was poor, so it is hard to say if there has been more activity in the area.

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

Snowing all day, with rain up to about 900'. Winds were light to moderate out of the northeast, and about 2" snow accumulated while we were out. Skies were cloudy all day.

Snow surface

4-6" new snow by the end of the day. Very little wind effect since this latest round of precip, but there were some older wind slabs under the new snow, that had likely formed Thursday or Friday. The new snow was moist up to about 1500'.


We found the 3/2 buried surface hoar layer in multiple hand pits as we traveled today. It never really stood out as a clear stripe in the snow, but it was easy to see when you pulled a sample of snow out of the pit. In some cases it was 3-5mm, in others it was 1-2mm, and we couldn't find it in a few pits. The slope that avalanched did have some surface hoar on the bed surface, but the grains were small and hard to find. Time will tell how this layer heals, but it seems it is present throughout a large portion of the area.

Photos & Video
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