Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Tincan Ridge

Route & General Observations

We toured up to the top of Tincan Common, trying to get a sense of how high the rain line was for the Thanksgiving storm, and to see how the latest round of snow was behaving. We dug a pit at 3100′ and found the Thanksgiving crust to be 6″ thick. We also saw serious wind transport while we were out, making very touchy wind slabs that were only about 6″ thick but made it easy to trigger avalanches on test slopes.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger Yes
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 6inWidth 20ft
Vertical Run 200ft  
Avalanche Details

I triggered a fresh wind slab as we were walking along the ridgeline above Tincan Common. The slab was only about 6" thick, and maybe 20' wide, but it ran far in the steep terrain on the north side of the ridge. We also triggered at least one similar-sized avalanche remotely as we were skiing down through Common Bowl, although they only ran for maybe 15 feet. These were on small convexities that limited the size of the avalanches, but it really showed us just how reactive the fresh wind slabs were. In addition to all of the small avalanches we triggered, we also saw multiple natural avalanches that looked to have released within the new and windblown snow from the past 24 hours- including multiple shallow slabs in Hippie Bowl and CFR, as well as multiple dry loose avalanches in Todd's bowl.

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

Multiple avalanches (see above), and shooting cracks in fresh wind slabs.

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

Raining along the arm, but snowing as soon as we started gaining elevation driving up the past. Steady snowfall tapered off by around noon, but strong winds continued through the day. Clouds started breaking up in the afternoon, but skies remained mostly cloudy.

Snow surface

Surfaces were variable. A dusting of new snow on top of a breakable crust up to around 1800', With new snow depth increasing and the buried crust becoming supportable at higher elevations. As soon as we got above treeline the wind had really gone to work on the snow surface, with some surfaces scoured down to the crust and some stiffer knee-deep drifts in other places.


Fresh wind slabs were very reactive, and we triggered at least two small wind slab avalanches (see above). The Thanksgiving crust had frozen solid into a 6" thick layer at 3100', but had barely frozen at and below treeline. We found rounding facets at the ground in our pit, but they did not produce any alarming test results. Main concern for today was the very sensitive fresh wind slabs.

Photos & Video
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