Another spring day is on the doorstep. Although some high clouds should filter through and patches of valley fog are expected, many slopes should see a good dose of sunshine today. Without a big temperature increase expected, we are back into a Normal Caution regime in our core forecast area of Turnagain Pass. That said, paying attention to any unforeseen changes in weather, especially warming, is always critical.
Normal Caution avalanche issues to keep in mind:
Wet loose avalanches: Solar aspects should heat up enough to soften surface crusts by the afternoon. If and when this happens, triggering wet sluff on steep sunny slopes will be possible. Natural wet sluffs are also possible in steep rocky terrain that is baking in the sun and saturating the snow surrounding rocks/vegetation.
Dry loose avalanches: Many shaded steep slopes harbor loose faceted surface snow. If headed into this terrain, watch your sluff.
Wind slabs: There was a 5-hour period of moderate westerly winds early this morning along ridgelines. Although there is not much loose snow for the winds to transport, it’s still prudent to keep a lookout for any new wind slabs that may have formed. Also, there could be some old lingering wind slabs that may still be reactive.
Cornices: This is the time of year cornices will slowly warm and start to peel off. Give these guys a good margin from above and limit exposure below.
Glide avalanches: A few new glide cracks have been seen opening up. Just one more thing for us to keep our eye out for as spring progresses.
A mix of surface conditions exist. This example is from Silvertip and shows wind effect in the foreground and sun effect with wet loose avalanche activity in the back.
Soft snow also exists in many areas on the northerly aspects as well the sunny once the crusts soften. Thank you to Blue Ristra for these photos from Wednesday 3.18.20.
Triggering a large slab avalanche that breaks in weak old faceted snow deeper in the snowpack remains a concern in areas that have a shallow overall snow depth. These areas are south of Turnagain Pass and include Johnson Pass to Silvertip area, Summit Lake and Palmer Creek. Watch for areas that have a harder wind packed layer of snow over weak sugary snow. Additionally, southerly facing slopes that are heating up during the day are more likely to avalanche once the surface crusts soften.
As always, practice safe travel protocol. Exposing one person at a time, watching our partners and having an escape route planned.
Facets found a foot below the surface in a shallow, wind scoured, area on Magnum. The total snowpack here was only 20″, yet it was over 6′ thick just 100 yds away. This pit resembles areas to the south of the Pass and in Summit Lake where the general snowpack is thinner and more concern exists for triggering a persistent slab avalanche. 3.18.20. Photo: Jamie Lyons
Yesterday: Overcast skies were over the region as high clouds filled the region. Ridgetop winds were light and variable before turning westerly and picking up into the 15-20mph range overnight. Temperatures bumped to the low 30’s°F along ridgetops and up to 40°F at sea level. Overnight, temperatures have dropped to ~20°F in the high elevations and the mid 30’s°F at sea level.
Today: Mostly sunny skies with patchy fog is forecast. Ridgetop winds should remain westerly in the 10-15mph range. Temperatures are slated to warm to 30°F along ridgetops and 40°F at sea level.
Tomorrow: A weak weather system heads over the area early Saturday morning. This will bring a chance for 1-3″ of snow through tomorrow. Snow should fall to sea level, or very close to that. Winds will shift back to an easterly direction with the snowfall and be in the 10-20mph range. Temperatures should be in the 20’s°F in most areas. Skies clear out again on Sunday and Monday.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||34||0||0||66|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||32||0||0||30|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||30*||0||0||76|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||30||var||7||18|
*The Aly Mid station temperature is an estimate as the station stopped reporting yesterday at 4pm.
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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|
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.