Turnagain Pass RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Mon, January 22nd, 2024 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, January 23rd, 2024 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Andrew Schauer
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE  above 1000′. Our main concern is the continued glide avalanche activity we have been seeing throughout the advisory area. These avalanches are large, destructive, and impossible to predict so be sure to avoid traveling under open glide cracks as much as possible. The danger is LOW below 1000′.

SNUG HARBOR/LOST LAKE/SEWARD: These southern areas are expected to see stronger winds today, increasing the chances of triggering an avalanche on wind-loaded slopes. Be on the lookout for increasing avalanche danger as the winds pick up today.

Special Announcements

Our new forecasters are hard at work getting avalanche information out to the people. As part of our expanding operations, our team will be hosting multiple events on the Kenai and in Anchorage to share more info about what we are doing and chat about the state of the snowpack. Keep an eye out for an event near you! Here are a few that we have coming up:

Anchorage:  Avalanche Rescue Skills Workshop this Saturday (January 27)! 10:30am to 3:30pm at Glen Alps parking lot.

Moose Pass: Winter Rendezvous on January 27 All Day. CNFAC event 10-1pm at the Trail Lake Lodge.

Soldotna: Peninsula Powersports in Soldotna will be hosting us on February 8, 5-6pm.

Seward: The Gateway Hotel and Stoney Creek Brewery in Seward will be hosting us on February 15, 6:30-8pm.

Mon, January 22nd, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Tue, January 23rd, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Tue, January 23rd, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Recent Avalanches

It has been over a week since the last observed avalanche activity within our advisory area. However, yesterday was the second day in a row that somebody sent us a photo of a very large avalanche just outside our zone. This one occurred at the back of the Twentymile drainage and was visible from the Seward Highway.

Large avalanche at the back of the Twentymile drainage, visible from the Seward Highway. Photo: Mike Records.

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
  • Aspect/Elevation
  • Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic (D4-5)
    Very Large (D3)
    Large (D2)
    Small (D1)
    Size
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.

Aspect/Elevation of the Avalanche Problem
Specialists develop a graphic representation of the potential distribution of a particular avalanche problem across the topography. This aspect/elevation rose is used to indicate where the particular avalanche problem is thought to exist on all elevation aspects. Areas where the avalanche problem is thought to exist are colored grey, and it is less likely to be encountered in areas colored white.

Likelihood of Avalanches
Terms such as "unlikely", "likely", and "certain" are used to define the scale, with the chance of triggering or observing avalanches increasing as we move up the scale. For our purposes, "Unlikely" means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. "Certain" means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches are expected.

Size of Avalanches
Avalanche size is defined by the largest potential avalanche, or expected range of sizes related to the problem in question. Assigned size is a qualitative estimate based on the destructive classification system and requires specialists to estimate the harm avalanches may cause to hypothetical objects located in the avalanche track (AAA 2016, CAA 2014). Under this schema, "Small" avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become "Large" enough to bury, injure, or kill people. "Very Large" avalanches may bury or destroy vehicles or houses, and "Historic" avalanches are massive events capable of altering the landscape.

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
More info at Avalanche.org

As this quiet stretch of weather continues, our main avalanche concern is the continued glide avalanche activity we’ve seen throughout the advisory area, all the way from Girdwood to Seward. We received multiple observations yesterday with people finding new glide cracks in surprising locations on Magnum, Cornbiscuit, Lipps, and Seattle RidgeWe’re continuing to see the alarming trend of glide cracks opening up and occasionally releasing in high-traffic areas, and that will continue to be a threat for now.

These avalanches can be easy to avoid if you are able to identify an active glide crack. We’ve received multiple recent reports of people being caught by surprise with fresh cracks opening up, so be sure to look carefully, and be aware that a slope you might have traveled safely on just a few days ago might be creeping down the side of the mountain today. Avoid spending time under glide cracks whenever possible, and consider alternate routes if your typical trail is exposed. If you can’t pick a better way through the terrain, travel quickly when you have to traverse under a glide crack and only expose one person at a time to the overhead hazard.

Very fresh glide crack right next to a popular skin track on Magnum Ridge. This likely didn’t exist just a couple days ago. Photo: Trevor Clayton, 01.21.2024

Continued glide activity immediately above the motorized uptrack on Seattle Ridge. Photo shared anonymously, 01.22.2024

Weather
Mon, January 22nd, 2024

Yesterday:  Skies were mostly cloudy with increasing cloud cover through the day. Some areas saw some light snowfall with no accumulation. Winds were light out of the northeast around 5 mph. High temperatures were in the single digits to low teens F, with lows in the single digits above and below 0 F.

Today: Skies should clear as winds switch back to the west/northwest today, although we might see some lingering valley clouds. Winds should stay light at around 5 mph with the exception of the Seward area which will likely see northwest winds around 15-25 mph. Temperatures will stay cold in the single digits F during the day today, dropping to the single digits below 0 F tonight. No precipitation is expected.

Tomorrow: Cold and clear weather continues tomorrow, with light northwesterly winds around 5-10 mph. Temperatures are expected to be in the single digits to low teens F during the day, dropping back into the low single digits F overnight. No precipitation is expected.

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

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 7 0 0 78
Summit Lake (1400′) 3 0 0 N/A
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 6 0 0 76
Bear Valley – Portage (132′) 5 0 0
Grouse Ck – Seward (700′) 14 0 0 51

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 10 N 4 12
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 4 NNE 2 7
Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
02/24/24 Turnagain Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
02/22/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Lynx Creek
02/22/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
02/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan
02/20/24 Turnagain Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
02/19/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Lynx creek
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
Riding Areas

The riding areas page has moved. Please click here & update your bookmarks.


Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.