Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Tue, April 12th, 2022 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, April 13th, 2022 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

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.

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Tue, April 12th, 2022
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Recent Avalanches

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.

 

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
  • Almost Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic (D4-5)
    Very Large (D3)
    Large (D2)
    Small (D1)
    Size
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.

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

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! 

Weather
Tue, April 12th, 2022

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)
Sunburst (3812′) 30 W 5 13
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 30 SE 4 10
Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Sunnyside / Seattle Ridge
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
11/25/22 Turnagain Observation: Top of Seattle Ridge uptrack
11/24/22 Turnagain Avalanche: Sunnyside/Main Bowl
11/23/22 Turnagain Avalanche: Seattle Ridge
11/23/22 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
11/23/22 Turnagain Observation: Tin Can Common Bowl
Riding Areas
Updated Sat, November 26th, 2022

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Placer River
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Turnagain Pass
Closed
The Forest has issued a closure order for Turnagain Pass due to inadequate snow cover for resource protection. Conditions will be monitored daily. Between 16-20” of snow exists at the parking lot. The scheduled opening would have been the Wednesday before Thanksgiving per Forest Plan.
Twentymile
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Primrose Trail
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed to motorized use for the 2022/23 winter season per Forest Plan. Open next season.
Snug Harbor
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.
Summit Lake
Closed
Scheduled opening Dec 1st per Forest Plan, contingent upon adequate snow depth for forest resource protection.

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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.