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Recreational Observation

We were ski touring under the cliffs looking for a safe route on our ascent.

Dec. 27, 2014, noon PST

Weather: Snowing, approx. 20 degrees, wind approx. 5-10mph.

Snowpack: Storm snow 4-8" that appeared to be bonding well to bed surface per quick pits and shear testing. No whoomphing, cracking, or other signs of instability noted on the majority of terrain we traveled.

Area Description: Cliffs near the ski run Rollen at Alpental on the upper mountain.

Avalanches: Our group of 4 skinned one at a time across a 30 yard apron of snow below a cliff band to a cluster of trees. Then I set back out on the apron, above our skin track, to put a switchback in, when the entire slope ripped out. I was swept off my feet and travelled approx. 10-15 feet before coming to a stop. I did not have my airbag ready for deployment. It was a class I. The apron was continually being loaded with spindrift during the storm and thus was able to become a slab. Our ski cut reduced the upward force needed to hold the slab in place. The rest of the group had their skis buried by debris, but remained unscathed in the trees.

Latitude: 47.395374

Longitude: -121.420898

Did you see any avalanches? Yes

Did you trigger any avalanches? Yes

Was anyone caught in an Avalanche? Yes