Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Tue, March 1st, 2022 - 7:00AM
Wed, March 2nd, 2022 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW at all elevations in the Turnagain Pass region. Triggering a large avalanche is unlikely. In exposed steep terrain with wind affected snow, watch out for small isolated wind slabs. Additionally, watch your sluff on steep sustained slopes and chutes. As always, give cornices a wide berth and limit exposure under glide cracks.

CROW PASS AREA:  The snowpack in the Crow Pass/Crow Creek area is thinner and deeper weak layers exist. Although it is unlikely a person could trigger a large avalanche, a cautious mindset is advised if heading to high elevation, steep, and wind affected terrain.

SILVERTIP / SUMMIT LAKE:  Additionally, the snowpack is thinner to the south of Turnagain Pass and outside of the advisory area in Summit Lake. These areas harbor buried weak layers surrounding crusts and have seen significant wind effect. Triggering an avalanche is also unlikely here, yet extra caution is still advised on steep wind affected slopes.

Tue, March 1st, 2022
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
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 were seen or reported yesterday. The last avalanche activity was associated with the storm on Friday, 2/25.

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

Another quiet, but cloudy, weather day in on tap. The snowpack has adjusted to last Friday’s storm and we are in a Normal Caution regime until the next weather event arrives. This means triggering an avalanche large enough to cause harm is unlikely. However, there are always some exceptions in the winter mountains, especially if traveling in high elevation steep terrain.

Things to keep in mind are lingering wind slabs that could be perched on steep unsupported slopes. It’s good to remember that triggering even a small wind slab could knock you off your feet and down somewhere you don’t want to go. Cornices may be the biggest concern right now. They have grown with the last warm storms and could be triggered further back than expected. If you are lucky enough to find a steep slope with soft snow, sluffs could be an issue and something to watch for. There are some glide cracks staring to slowly open, watch for these and avoid lingering under them as they can release at any time. And last, if you are headed to more obscure spots that could have a shallow snowpack, there are old buried weak layers we are keeping track of. More on that below.

Good travel habits are important, even during LOW danger. This includes exposing only one person at a time on a slope, watching your partners closely and having an escape route planned in case the snow moves.

A skier skinning up to Eddies Headwall on Sunday. Note the wind effect at ridgeline – including anti tracks – but also patches of soft faceting snow. Photo Andy Moderow 2.27.22.

Additional Concern
  • Deep Persistent Slabs
    Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a thick cohesive layer of hard snow (a slab), when the bond breaks between the slab and an underlying persistent weak layer deep in the snowpack. The most common persistent weak layers involved in deep, persistent slabs are depth hoar or facets surrounding a deeply buried crust. Deep Persistent Slabs are typically hard to trigger, are very destructive and dangerous due to the large mass of snow involved, and can persist for months once developed. They are often triggered from areas where the snow is shallow and weak, and are particularly difficult to forecast for and manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

In a couple small corners of the forecast zone and to the south in Summit Lake, we are still watching those old faceted layers that sit near crusts from Halloween and New Year’s. The past couple warm storms during late February were able to overload these weak layers and create some very large avalanches. Now that the snowpack has cooled and adjusted, it would be unlikely that a person could trigger one of these large slides. The most concerning spot is down near Summit Lake and possibly Silvertip where the weak layers are around 3′ deep in places. Take look at former CNFAIC forecasters, Aleph and Heather’s, report from Summit Peak. The snowpack is clearly much different there than in the heart of Turnagain.

The main point is, if you are headed to areas with less snow cover, be mindful of the poor snowpack structure. In these cases it is always good to consider the consequences if there was to be an outlier avalanche.

A look at the wind effect on Tenderfoot Ridge from Summit Peak on Sunday. Photo Aleph Johnston-Bloom, 2.27.22.

Tue, March 1st, 2022

Yesterday:  Mostly cloudy skies were over the region yesterday with no precipitation recorded. Ridgetop winds were light and variable, becoming light from the east overnight. Temperatures have remained in the 20’sF at the upper elevations while lower elevations were in the mid 30’sF.

Today:  Cloudy skies with a chance for a new snow flurries. No accumulation is expected. Ridgetop winds are expected to remain light from the east (5-10mph with gusts in the teens). Temperatures should remain in the 20’sF along ridgelines and in the 30’s at the lower elevations.

Tomorrow:  Quiet weather looks to remain through most of tomorrow before the next weather system approaches tomorrow night. This should bring increasing east winds and several inches of snow to elevations above 1,000′. Stay tuned for the chance of improved snow conditions!

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

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 28 0 0 93
Summit Lake (1400′) 25 0 0 41
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 29 0 0 N/A

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 22 E 4 15
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 24 SE 3 11
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/13/24 Turnagain Observation: Eddie’s, Sunburst, Seattle, Cornbiscuit, Pete’s South
05/13/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Pass non-motorized side
05/12/24 Turnagain Observation: Warm up Bowl
05/07/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Pass Wet Slabs
04/29/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Turnagain aerial obs
04/27/24 Turnagain Observation: Johnson Pass
04/23/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Sunny Side
04/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Bertha Creek
04/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Spokane Creek
04/16/24 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
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.