Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger is MODERATE today above 1,000′. Human triggered wind slab avalanches, 1-2′ thick, are possible on wind loaded slopes 35 degrees and steeper due an increase in east winds last night. Watch for slopes with recent wind deposited snow and those that may see active wind loading today. Human triggered cornice falls are also a concern. The danger is LOW below 1,000′ where a thick melt-freeze crust exists.
The avalanche danger is expected to rise to CONSIDERABLE tonight into tomorrow as another storm approaches.
SUMMIT LAKE: In addition to the wind slab avalanche concern, Summit Lake and the interior Kenai Mtns have a thinner snowpack with buried weak layers. Extra caution is warranted for the added potential of an avalanche breaking deeper in the snowpack.
SNUG/LOST LAKE/SEWARD: A snowmachiner was caught and carried in an avalanche just south of Cooper Landing Wednesday out of the Snug Harbor area, near V-Max hill. The rider was not buried and is OK. Please see their story along with videos HERE; we send them a big thank you for being willing to share their experience with us. This area is out of our forecast zone and we have limited information on the snowpack.
|Signal Word||Size (D scale)||Simple Descriptor|
|Small||1||Unlikely to bury a person|
|Large||2||Can bury a person|
|Very Large||3||Can destroy a house|
|Historic||4 & 5||Can destroy part or all of a village|
Light snow showers are over most of the forecast area this morning, however they should only account for a few inches before tapering off midday. It will again be the winds that are the main driver for avalanche issues. Easterly ridgetop winds climbed last night into the 30-35mph range for averages and a peak gust at Sunburst weather station of 57mph. They have quieted down somewhat this morning, but should continue to average near 20-30mph before ramping up again tonight as the next system heads in. With a few inches of new snow possible today and any existing snow available to move around, we can expect fresh wind slabs in addition to any lingering slabs from the past couple days.
Wind Slabs: If you’re headed out in hopes the skies break enough for travel above the trees, keep a lookout for any recent (or current) wind loading. Feel for hollow drum-like snow, stiff snow over softer snow and cracks that shoot out from your machine, board or skis. Wind slabs are likely to be near ridgelines, on steep rollovers and in cross-loaded gullies. They could be anywhere from a few inches to a couple feet thick pending on the slope you are on and how much wind it has seen.
Cornices: Be extra cautious of where you are in relation to cornices. This photo below (from Tuesday 1.19) shows the top of the Seattle Ridge motorized up-track with a huge cornice. It’s easy to ride or hike up familiar slopes and forget how close we might actually be to a cornice’s edge that has grown during this month’s stormy weather. Cornices like this exist all over the ridgelines right now and giving them more space than one might think is prudent.
Large cornice along Zero Bowl (Mamma’s Bowl) on Seattle Ridge. Photo taken a few days ago on Tuesday 1.19.21. Beau Gehler.
Say it isn’t so… Glide avalanches have arrived for the 2021 season. The good news, we are only seeing them in areas not likely to be traveled, but that can all change in a heartbeat, as we know from years past. The photo below shows the glide cracks on the southeast shoulder of Goat Mtn that were releasing yesterday. Cracks also have been seen on the southern lower face of Raggedtop (Girdwood Valley), on the southern slope of Gilpatrick and south of Devil’s Pass trail (Summit Lake area on the Kenai).
Keep an eye out for these ‘brown frowns’, avoid travel under them, and please let us know if you see any!
Glide cracks and release on the shoulder of Goat Mtn seen from Girdwood. The crack to the right of the release avalanched shortly after this photo was taken yesterday afternoon. 1.21.21.
Yesterday: Overcast skies were over the region yesterday with a few flurries here and there. Ridgetop winds were east in the 10-15mph range during the day before increasing overnight to the 30-35mph range with gusts in the 50’s. Temperatures hovered in the mid 20’sF along ridgelines and the low-mid 30’sF at 1,000′.
Today: Skies are cloudy this morning and light snow showers are expected before skies try and break up later today (1-4″ accumulation above 500′, rain below). East ridgetop winds decreased early this morning and are forecast to average between 20-30mph with stronger gusts during the daytime hours. Temperatures are warm and could reach 40F today at sea level but should remain in the mid 20’sF along ridgelines. Tonight, another warm storm moves in with heavy snowfall (above 500′) and strong east wind (35-45mph).
Tomorrow: Heavy snowfall will continue on Saturday with rain creeping up to ~1,000′ midday as warmer air streams in. Strong east winds (35-45mph averages) will also continue with the system. The storm is expected to head out late Saturday night with around a foot of storm total and Sunday is still looking like a possible clearing day.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||33||tr||tr||131|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||29||tr||tr||45|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||32||3||0.3||116|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||26||SE||19||32|
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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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.