Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger remains LOW over the forecast region. Although it is unlikely to trigger an avalanche, there are still dangerous wintertime mountain hazards. Be sure to give cornices a bigger berth than you might think. People have been able to trigger these over the past few days. Glide avalanches are starting to occur. We need to be sure not to hang out under glide cracks. Watch for wet sluffs that may be triggered on sunny slopes in the warm afternoon/evening. Lastly, small slabs could still be triggered on high elevation steep shady slopes.
Seattle Ridge: There were four glide avalanches seen yesterday on the SE face of Seattle Ridge. Three of these are above a heavily trafficed area across from the motorized parking lot. These are the only type of avalanche a person cannot trigger. They release on their own at completely unpredictable times. No one was involved in any of these, but one party saw the glide pictured below occur.
Glide avalanche on the SE face of Seattle Ridge between the motorized parking lot and up-track, released yesterday 4.11.22.
|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|
Springtime in Alaska! It’s been a wonderful period of clear skies and generally stable avalanche conditions. Today, and the next several days, should be much of the same. The sun has been able to heat up the sunny slopes in the afternoon, yet the shaded slopes at the mid and upper elevations are remaining fairly dry. As our days get longer and temperatures slowly rise, we can’t get complacent. At some point those sunny slopes will start to fall apart and begin to easily avalanche in various forms of wet avalanches. We have not seen signs of this yet, but that’s our main concern moving forward. Otherwise, we will remain in our ‘Normal Caution’ regime with a handful of hazards to look for listed below.
Cornices: Check out the photo below of the cornice crack on Big League (Girdwood area). A group triggered a large cornice on this ridge Sunday with a large piece of it that did not fall. We say it all the time, but we really need to give these features a wide berth and limit exposure under them. Furthermore, warm afternoon/evenings can make them easier to trigger.
Glide avalanches: With a handful of glide avalanches occurring yesterday, we can safely say, a few more could release again today. Even a small glide avalanche can be extremely destructive. There are several large cracks opening up and more smaller cracks. Keeping your eyes peeled and limiting time under glide cracks is highly recommended.
Wet loose avalanches (sluffs): It’s that time of year to watch the heating on solar aspects. Once the surface crusts melt to the point your boot is sinking past your boot-tops in wet sloppy snow, it’s time to head to a cooler aspect. Wet sluffs can be small and harmless, or they can slowly gain enough momentum to generate quite a large and dangerous avalanche; this is what we are watching for in the days/weeks ahead.
Small slabs and dry sluffs in steep shady terrain: If headed for the high elevation northerly aspects, it is not out of the question that a small old slab could pop out on you. Watch for those classic signs of shooting cracks and hollow feeling snow. Sluffs on steeper sustained slopes may also be large enough to get your attention.
Safe Travel Protocol: Maintaining smart travel protocol is critical anytime we are in the mountains. Even though it’s ‘green light’ we still have to consider the consequences of getting caught by surprise in an unlikely avalanche. Exposing one person at a time when in steep terrain, having escape routes planned, and keeping an eye on your partners from safe spots is key.
A large cornice that cracked but did not fall. This is on Big League at the head of Virgin Creek in Girdwood Valley. If you look closely you can see the crack on the left side of the red line. This piece (with old tracks on it) could still fall, scary. Photo by the group involved on Sunday, 4.10.22.
Video below is Allen Dahl, our 2021/22 Avalanche Center Intern. This is Allen’s last week and we’d like to thank him for all the great work he has done with us this season! Link in case the video doesn’t load is here.
Aurora over Tincan at 11 pm on Saturday night. So cool – thanks Troy Tempel for the great photo!
Yesterday: Another amazing day of blue skies were over the region yesterday. Ridgetop winds were light from the south and east. Temperatures reached the low 30’sF along ridgelines and the low 40’sF in parking lots.
Today: Sunny skies will prevail again today. Ridgetop winds are also slated to remain light from the southeast in the 5-10mph range. Temperatures will again reach the mid 30’sF along ridgelines and the mid 40’sF in parking lots.
Tomorrow: Thanks to an omega block keeping mostly high-pressure over the region, we are expecting mostly sunny skies and light ridgetop winds through the remainder of the week.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||34||0||0||112|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||30||0||0||39|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||34||0||0||N/A|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||30||SE||4||10|
|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: email@example.com
|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.