Summit & Central Kenai Mtns

Archives
Issued
Fri, January 26th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, January 27th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Daniel Krueger
Conditions Summary

Weekend Avalanche Outlook

Saturday, Jan. 27 – Sunday, Jan. 28

Frigidly cold temperatures are forecast over the weekend, and although triggering an avalanche is unlikely, glide avalanches are still our main concern. Glide cracks resembling “brown frowns” can release spontaneously as glide avalanches, which can be large and destructive. It is best to avoid traveling under these cracks. If there is not an alternative route, limit time under them by traveling efficiently and one at a time.

Special Announcements

The Moose Pass Winter Rendezvous is TOMMORROW Jan 27th! Forecaster Daniel Krueger will be there from 10-1pm introducing himself to the public, spreading the word about our weekend outlook in the Summit and Seward areas as well as answering any questions you have! There will be activities, food and live music as well. You can find more information about the event here!

Peninsula Powersports in Soldotna will be hosting us on Feb 8, 5-6pm. Similar to Moose Pass, this will be an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves, the weekend outlook for Summit and Seward as well as answer any questions you have. 

Snowmachine access in the Kenai Mountains: Here is a map showing snowmachine access in Summit Pass. This is a great tool to better understand and travel in areas open to snowmachining. You can also download it to your phone to use in the field.

Recent Avalanches

Recent Avalanches: The last known avalanche in the Summit area was a glide avalanche on Fresno Mtn on Jan 20. Glide avalanches were also seen last weekend on Fresno Mtn, Gilpatrick South and Summit Peak.

Weather Recap: Last weekend clouds moved in on Sunday and a trace of snow fell in Summit Pass. Otherwise, a high pressure has been bringing cold temperatures and clear skies throughout the week. Winds have been light from the north along ridgetops. Temperatures were frigid with Summit Lake reporting -20 F! An inversion has been keeping temperatures at higher elevations a little more pleasant, in the mid-teens.

Weather Forecast: Some clouds should move in over the weekend possibly bringing a trace of snow on Sunday evening. Winds are forecast to be light, 0-5 mph, with the possibility of 10 mph near ridges. These winds will shift from the west on Saturday to the north on Sunday. Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to stay below zero F with Saturday having a low of -10 F and Sunday a low of -15 F.

There is a possibility a storm may arrive on Sunday evening and extend through Monday that may bring snow to the Kenai Peninsula. If this storm verifies, we may receive as much as a foot of new snow or more in the Summit area.

Glide avalanches releasing on Summit Peaks east face. Photo by Hannah Smith 1.20.2024

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

Glide cracks continue to open and release in the Summit area creating large avalanches. Last weekend a new glide crack opened on Fresno Mtn, likely on 1.20, that is close to where people commonly ski. These avalanches have typically been located mid-slope and can send debris to lower elevations.  Because these glide cracks can release spontaneously, it is safer to navigate around them as you travel in the backcountry. If you have to travel below them, limit exposure by traveling one at a time or spacing out and moving as efficiently as possible.

Fresno Mtn with numerous glide cracks and avalanches. The glide crack on the left opened around Jan. 20 and is close to where people ski down. 1.21.2024

Additional Concern
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

Facets above and below the Thanksgiving crust and weak facets buried at the ground are two layers we are keeping our eye on. In the past several weeks there have been no known avalanches on these weak layers. Areas that we are watching include higher elevations and shallower snowpacks. These layers are not likely to cause an avalanche, but if you are heading into steep terrain, keep this in mind.

There is a possibility that a weather pattern may bring snow Sunday evening extending into Monday to the Summit area. This would be falling on weak surfaces. If we get a lot of snow in the mountains, the avalanche danger will increase as we expect avalanches to release naturally. Keep this in mind if you pursue fresh snow next week. Generally, it is advised to avoid traveling in or above avalanche terrain until after the snow has time to adjust to the load.

 

Weather
Fri, January 26th, 2024
Weather Forecasts

NWS Point Forecast: Point forecast for the Summit Lake area.

NWS Avalanche Weather Guidance (AVG) forecast page: Mountain weather forecasts for the region. Zoom in on the map to find point forecasts for Summit.

Windy.com Spot Forecast: Spot forecast for Summit (tip: compare models using the links at the bottom of the page).

 

Weather Stations

Summit Creek Snotel

AK DOT&PF Summit Lake Weather Station 

AKRR Ridgetop Weather Station

Observations
Recent Observations for Summit & Central Kenai Mtns
Date Region Location
04/10/24 Summit Observation: Manitoba
04/10/24 Summit Observation: Colorado
04/07/24 Summit Observation: Fresno
04/06/24 Summit Observation: Tenderfoot
04/04/24 Summit Observation: Gilpatrick North
03/27/24 Summit Observation: Colorado
03/24/24 Summit Observation: Near Tern Lake and Near Sixmile Creek
03/21/24 Summit Avalanche: Manitoba
03/21/24 Summit Avalanche: Summit eastside
03/21/24 Summit Observation: Johnson South
Riding Areas

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This is a general backcountry conditions summary. This advisory does not apply to highways, railroads or operating ski areas.