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Observations

Professional Observer:   Wagner

Location:   Turnagain   -   Sunburst and Portage Valley area

Date:   Feb 26th, 2013


Weather:
Quite windy and mostly cloudy/obscured. 8" of new snow from overnight in
Turnagain parking lots and 10-12" at 3,000'. A brief break in cloud cover
mid-day allowed for a bit of visibility. Socked in again and began to snow
lightly by 3pm. Wind was moderate to strong and mainly from the east.

Signs of instability:
Recent avalanches - A few images of natural avalanches and one artillery
triggered from 2/26 below. Naturals likely occurred late in the evening on 2/25
or early in the morning on 2/26. All seem to be relegated to the storm snow from
the night of 2/25.

Turnagain natural avalanches seen:
Sunburst - SW, 3,500', ~2ft deep and 100' wide
Tincan, Hippie bowl - SW, 3,300', 1-2ft deep and 150+' wide

Portage/Girdwood areas:
Kern #3 (artillery triggered near Kern Creek along Seward hwy)- S, ~2,500', 1-3'
deep and ~200' wide
Williwaw (natural above Williwaw campground) - N, ~2,000', 1-3?' deep
Bird Ridge - Widespread wet loose induced by sun in the afternoon. These were
relatively small point releases confined to the top 6" or so of snow.

Surface conditions:
Wind affected snow and punchy turning conditions. It seemed the Seattle Ridge
side of the Pass may have been spared a little of the damage. Below 1,500' snow
was damp and upside down.

Concerns:
Fresh wind slabs. Did not trigger any but did not tease the cat too much either.



Photo 1. Natural wind slab (possibly cornice triggered) on south facing Sunburst. ~3,500', SW facing, ~2' deep and 100' wide (looker's left side of crown not visible).
Photo 2. Artillery triggered wind slab in the Kern #3 slide path (between Gridwood and Portage). South facing, ~2,500'.
Photo 3. Natural wind/storm slab Williwaw (Portage Valley). North facing, ~2,000'. (photo Dan Keeler).
Photo 4. Wet loose avalanches along Bird and Gird flats. Photo is a south facing bowl behind Bird Creek.
Photo 5. Snow devils wreaking havok on our good pow riding and skiing......! (photo Sean Fallon).


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