Avalanche: Turnagain

Location: Tincan Trees

Route & General Observations

We ventured out in the rain from Girdwood this morning and were pleasantly surprised to find that at 12p, it was weirdly almost sunny at Tincan, with visibility up to the tops of peaks. We climbed the normal skin track and took two runs in Tincan trees.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect West Northwest
Elevation 3200ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Run 1000ft  
Avalanche Details

From the highway we were pretty sure we could see a large slide that had ripped out on Todd's Run on the Northwest bowl of Tincan. Although the clouds were surprisingly high the light was still a bit flat, but we were pretty sure it looked like the whole thing slid. I included a picture... regardless we definitely saw similar fairly far running slides (natural, occurring during the storm I imagine) on the NE aspect of Todd's Run (rocky area to the looker's right of the main gut.)

Notably, I spent quite a bit of time looking around at other peaks as we skinned up Tincan and saw no other large slides. Seattle ridge looked like it had seen some wind, but I couldn't pick out any crowns or large debris piles, and the South side of Eddies, North side of Sunburst, and the back of the center ridge valley had no visible avalanche activity (to the naked eye... I didn't have a zoom lens with me.)

North faces looked quite wind scoured, I was amazed that with the big dump, large rocky sections still appeared bare on the north sides of the Sunburst, Magnum, and Cornbiscuit ridges. South faces appeared snowy and wind deposited.

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

Saw a couple recent avalanches - details in Avalanche tab. Honestly, considering the weight of the storm, I was amazed at how few signs of instability we did observe, but there were a couple things. When the large amount of new snow was unsupported (on a really steep drop or bc it had a skin track through it) I observed cracks breaking off someone's skis when they jumped on the unsupported slope, but not huge energy or propagation. Similarly, the only crown I saw up close all day was on a cliff drop that someone hit and kicked off a little slab about 6 feet wide that ran down behind them 15-30 ft. Not big.

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

18-20" new snow - extremely wet at parking lot but reasonably fun (not dry, but fun) by mid elevations. 39 degrees in the parking lot, about 31 degrees at top of Trees.

Snow surface

Quite wet at lower elevations, some visible wind affect in the alpine, but not any punchy snow or anything. Snow skied buttery and fun, a little on the heavy side but not terrible all things considered.


I dug some hand pits to check out how the new snow was bonding and although it did break off at the old crust underneath, it wasn't shearing cleanly and it seemed like the new snow was largely wet enough to have started bonding a bit?? Didn't get too snow sciency about it.

Also, folks were starting to ski some relatively steep rollovers in the Tincan trees and I didn't see a single other sign of instability, other then the small crown mentioned earlier on the really steep and isolated drop.

Down low it seemed like the new snow was so wet that the old crust underneath had disappeared (melted? lol) in some places.

Photos & Video
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