Turnagain Pass RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Wed, January 24th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, January 25th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Avalanche danger remains MODERATE above 1000′. The main concern are glide avalanches spontaneously releasing in popular areas. Glide avalanches are large and destructive. Keep a close eye out for glide cracks and limit spending any time under them. Otherwise, triggering an avalanche is unlikely and normal mountain hazards exist, such as cornice falls, sluffs on steep slopes, and small wind slabs in steep terrain.

Special Announcements

Two events coming up THIS SATURDAY!!

  •  Anchorage: Avalanche Rescue Skills Workshop – Glen Alps Parking Lot – Jan 27, come anytime between 10:30am to 3:30pm. Hosted by Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol and Friends of Chugach Avy.
  • Moose Pass: Winter Rendezvous – Trail Lake Lodge – Jan 27, stop by between 10-1pm to chat with the new forecaster Daniel Krueger, ask questions, and learn more about avalanche information on the Kenai.

SnowBall 2024!:  Mark your calendars for Valentine’s Day, Feb 14 (7-11pm @ 49th St Brewing). Details/tickets HERE. The evening promises costumes, finger food, a rocking band, silent auction, and plenty of great company. Event supports Chugach Avy as well as our friends at the Alaska Avalanche School!

Wed, January 24th, 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
Thu, January 25th, 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
Thu, January 25th, 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

No new avalanches have been reported in the past several days.

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

Another clear and cold day is on tap with light westerly winds. The snow surface is old and tired, but becoming softer as the clear days go by. Until the weather takes a turn, our avalanche concerns are status quo. This means generally LOW danger for human triggered avalanches and MODERATE danger for that randomly releasing glide crack in a well-traveled location.

The good news is most glide cracks are easy to see and avoid. If your route does take you under these, it’s good to go one at time, watch the slope above, and go fast. Cracks can exists for months before releasing. Two years ago, a group descending the common route down Seattle Ridge under Repeat Offender was overrun by a glide avalanche with one person caught, buried, and rescued by their group. That crack loomed above the motorized uptrack for the entire season before avalanching in late April, similar yet larger to the ones that are there now.

Other than the glide avalanche concern, we are in a Normal Caution regime for human triggered avalanches. Cornices are slowly peeling away from ridgelines so we want to keep giving them a wide berth. The surface snow is becoming looser (faceting) with the clear weather and sluffs should be expected on steep slopes. There are always varying degrees of wind effect in the high exposed terrain. Small wind slabs in steep rocky terrain are something to watch for.

 

Weather
Wed, January 24th, 2024

Yesterday:  Mostly clear skies, light westerly winds (~5mph), and cold temperatures (-15 to +15) were seen yesterday.

Today:  Another carbon copy day is expected weather-wise. Mostly clear skies are expected with  light westerly ridgetop winds (5-10mph). Temperatures are warming above the cold air inversion into the 20-25F range while valley bottoms should remain between -15 and 0F.

Tomorrow:  Another clear and cold day is expected tomorrow, yet ridgetop winds look to bump up slightly from the northwest (5-15mph). Looking ahead, a chance for some clouds on Friday and a few inches of snow could occur on Saturday through Monday. Models are saying 2-6″ at this point with temperatures remaining cold, 0-15F.

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

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 7 0 0 77
Summit Lake (1400′) -7 0 0 n/a
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 6 0 0 75
Bear Valley – Portage (132′) -11 0 0
Grouse Ck – Seward (700′) 0 0 0 51

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 18 W 6 17
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 18 NW 1 3
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.