Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger is MODERATE above 1000′. The main concern is the lingering possibility of triggering a very large avalanche on a weak layer of snow buried 3-6′ deep. The likelihood of triggering an avalanche is decreasing, but the consequences still have us avoiding traveling on or below steep slopes. The danger is LOW below 1000′.
We’re looking for your input! We’ve made some changes to the forecast this year, and we are curious to hear how well it has worked for everybody. This is your chance for you to give us some feedback that will help us continue to improve our forecasts. These advisories are for you, and we’d love to hear how we can make them better. We’ve put together a quick survey that should take 5-10 minutes to complete. If you have a chance, please Click here to start the survey. We really appreciate your feedback.
It has been 6 days since the last reported human-triggered avalanche near our advisory area, and 10 days since the last human-triggered avalanche involving the deep persistent weak layer we are concerned about.
|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|
With a quiet day of weather expected today, our main avalanche concern lies within the weak layer of snow buried 3-6′ deep by all of the snow we got in the second half of March. As time moves on, this layer is slowly becoming more stubborn to trigger, but the possibility of triggering a very large avalanche on this layer remains. Deep persistent weak layers like the one we have been dealing with are very hard to assess, since the stability tests we typically use to investigate a weak layer are unreliable once the layer is buried deeper than 3′ or so.
Based on field observations from the past few days, we know the snowpack structure is still suspect, but it is starting to gain strength (more details in these observations from Bertha Creek and Pete’s North). This puts us in a challenging situation where the likelihood of triggering a massive avalanche is decreasing, but there is still a lingering chance of triggering an avalanche with fatal consequences. Because the consequences are so high, we are still avoiding traveling on or below big steep slopes. This problem layer is headed in the right direction, but we aren’t quite ready to trust it just yet.
Wind Slabs: As winds pick up later in the day we may see some small wind slabs forming in upper elevations. These should be small, but will be important to watch out for since they will be very sensitive as they are forming.
Skiers, splitboarders, and a dog on the north side of Sunburst crossing the aftermath of a very large natural avalanche that occurred about two weeks ago. Photo: Lance Breeding, 04.06.2023
Yesterday: Skies were mostly cloudy with increasing sun in the afternoon. High temperatures were in the low 20’s F at upper elevations and mid 30’s F down low. Winds were light out of the west at 5-10 mph with gusts of 10-20 mph, with stations in Girdwood showing a brief stretch with slightly stronger winds yesterday afternoon. We did not record any precipitation yesterday.
Today: Increasing cloud cover today as a low pressure system in the gulf switches us back to a southeasterly flow. Winds should stay light at 5-15 mph out of the east, picking up slightly later in the day through tonight. High temperatures should be between 20 and 30 F, with lows in the mid teens to low 20’s F. We may see some light snow later in the day, but it is not likely to amount to any measurable accumulation.
Tomorrow: Skies will be mostly cloudy with some periods of light snowfall bringing a trace of new snow. Winds will start light out of the east before switching westerly and picking up to 10-15 mph with gusts of 15-20 mph. High temperatures will be in the low 20’s to 30 F with lows in the low to mid teens F.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||23||0||0||90|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||19||0||0||44|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||23||0||0||82|
|Bear Valley – Portage (132′)||26||0||0||–|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||17||NNW||3||12|
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|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.