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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Thursday, March 12th 2015
Created: Mar 12th 5:44 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
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Special Announcement

The Bottom Line

Most terrain in the Turnagain Pass zone has a LOW avalanche danger. If you are headed to the steeps, pockets of MODERATE danger can be found in steep rocky and complex terrain for lingering wind slabs large enough to knock a person off their feet. Additionally, sluffs are becoming larger and faster on slopes over 40 degrees. Don't forget to watch your sluff!


Primary Concern

Lingering wind slabs from the strong Northwest winds earlier this week are littered about the mountains. They can be found to be a few inches thick to a foot thick. They vary from stiff and supportable to breakable and in some areas, still on the softer side. These slabs are a concern in steep complex terrain where even a small plate can knock you off your feet and pitch you somewhere you don't want to go. One of my partners triggered one of these old pockets yesterday (a soft old wind slab ~10" thick and 20' wide in steep terrain photo below).


Secondary Concern

Sluffs are VERY easy to trigger in steep terrain harboring loose surface snow. These are running faster and farther each day as the snow is becoming looser and looser with the cold weather. Sluff management is key. This means know where your sluff will go and stay out of the way of the debris. The volume of these sluffs is on the moderate side but, still plenty to washing-machine someone if caught on a sustained slope.

SEE VIDEO HERE.  Photo above by John Sykes: Sluffs triggered in the Gold Pan basin yesterday (behind the Magnum and Cornbiscuit ridges and near the top of Bertha Creek)

 

As Heather mentioned yesterday, there is some great skiing and riding to be had at the Pass. Honing in on the dappled surface texture (or orange peel as some say) to suss out the soft snow works well. Also, despite the continued hazardous approaches from the parking lots, there is now a "Tincan Rappel" which makes accessing the goods on Tincan easier - thanks to the helpful citizen for the installation!


Mountain Weather

Yesterday brought another round of sunny, cold and beautiful weather. Temperatures were right around 0F from the parking lot to the ridgetops.

For today, we should have the same sunny skies and cold temperatures. In fact, the Sunburst weather station has just recorded the lowest temperature for this season at 3am, -6F (runner up is -3F on January 25th). There is slight inversion in place with minus single digits in valley bottoms. Temps should rise to the teens at 1,000' but stay near 0F on the ridgelines. The Northwest winds should remain in the 5-10mph range on the ridgelines today and may pick up a hair later this afternoon into the 15mph range.

Our next shot of snow (and warmer temperatures) is on Sunday and Monday. Until then, enjoy the sunshine!

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 43 
Summit Lake (1400') 9
Alyeska Mid (1700') 28 

 

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') -2  18 
Seattle Ridge(2400') n/a  23 

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Nov 18, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
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