Observation: Turnagain

Location: Tincan Treeline

Route & General Observations

Toured up to treeline on Tincan to see how much new snow we got over the last two days and assess how well the new snow is bonding to the old surface. Overall, I did not see any recent avalanche activity and was not able to trigger any small avalanches or shooting cracks on the test slopes I traveled on. Due to low visibility I did not go above treeline to assess how wind slabs were behaving.

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

Cold temperatures hovering around 0 F with light winds. There were some snow flurries throughout the day, but no substantial accumulation. Visibility was in and out, with a layer of valley fog and broken cloud layers at upper elevations. I saw an awesome low elevation sun dog due to snow crystals being suspended in the lower atmosphere.

Snow surface

There was about 8-10" of new snow in sheltered areas. Near treeline there was more wind affected snow, with areas of drifted snow and firmer wind crusts on the snow surface, but skiing conditions were good in most areas.


I dug one pit near the top of treeline at roughly 2200' on a SW aspect. In my extended column test the thin wind skin (5 cm or 2") on the snow surface was able to propagate across the column, which means wind slabs were probably triggerable by a person in wind loaded areas today. Otherwise I did not get any significant results. Both in the snowpack tests and while jumping on small test slopes the new snow did not want to fail at the interface with the old snow surface. This might be because the new snow is still very light and has not had a chance to form into a cohesive slab yet. There was some dry loose debris (sluff) running off of steeper terrain features.

Photos & Video
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