April 14, 2019, Tatoosh skier-triggered wind slab

WA Cascades SW (Mt Rainier)
Posted by JasonGerend on 4/14/19 11:41am
Quick report of an avalanche we saw evidence of. Hopefully the party involved can provide a better account and didn't have any injuries.

Saw evidence of a skier-triggered wind slab on the north – east slope of the Castle in the Louise Lake drainage in the slope through the middle of the long cliff band at around 5400', guessing it occurred around noonish?

Northerly aspect, probably ~45 degree pitch. 6-12" crown, 100-200' wide, maybe 100' track. D1-D2? It looks like the party skinned up the steep slope successfully and triggered it on descent. Maybe the sun came out a little, but nothing seemed to be warming up, so hard to say.

We saw two sets of tracks coming out of the area so we concluded everyone made it safely out. Ran on the melt/crust we saw on all aspects from 4500-6300' under 2-6" of fresh snow which varied from fluff to wind-scoured to wind-slab. The slabs we encountered didn't seem very reactive and stability was better than we expected, though we made conservative route selections.

The party in the accident seemed like they were doing laps and had found good stability on the first lap on some smaller steep slopes – on other aspects. Hope everyone made it out unscathed. Take care out there…

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2019-04-14 18:41:18