Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger remains MODERATE at all elevations for today and tomorrow. Wet loose avalanches, and even some small slabs, are possible in the warmth of the day on all aspects below 2,500′ and on sunlit slopes in the high terrain. Lingering wind slabs may also be triggered in steep shady terrain at the high elevations that still harbor dry snow. Remember to give cornices a wide berth along ridgelines.
PORTAGE VALLEY hikers/bikers/xc skiers: Be aware of avalanches that could occur overhead as the day heats up. This area can see large wet slides that can run close to commonly traveled areas.
*WEDNESDAY AVALANCHE OUTLOOK: There will be no forecast issued tomorrow, Wednesday. The next forecast will be Thursday, April 20. Look for an increase in wet loose avalanches due to warmer daytime temperatures forecast for Wednesday afternoon. In general however, avalanche conditions should remain similar to those on Tuesday and in the MODERATE category.
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Avalanche Center End of Season Operations: Beginning this week we will forecast 4 days/week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday). The final forecast is scheduled for April 30th.
After many natural wet loose avalanches occurred on Saturday, only a few were reported over the past two days. The last dry snow avalanche that we know of was the slab triggered on the upper face of Captain’s Chair. Take a minute to read that report HERE.
|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|
As spring slowly moves back into Alaska, the snowpack is beginning its transition from a cold dry snowpack to a summer melt-freeze one. With chilly nights and warm days, the transition is slower than if we were to get rainy warm weather. During these spring transitions we often see large wet snow avalanches, but that is probably still a week or two away. Until then, a smaller variety of wet snow avalanches in the top foot or so of the snowpack is the main concern. This is why paying close attention to melting surface crusts and soggy snow late in the day is important. This includes considering your exit route as the prime time for wet loose slides are between 3 and 6pm.
Beginning with east facing slopes, then south, and last westerly aspects, small to medium sized wet loose, and even shallow wet slabs, can be triggered by us or could release naturally as the day progresses. This will be more pronounced tomorrow, Wednesday, as warmer temperatures are expected tomorrow afternoon/evening. Once the surface crusts melt enough that your boot sinks down 6″ or more into soft wet snow then these wet loose slides on the steeper slopes are possible and it’s time to head to a cooler aspect.
Wet loose avalanche on Seattle Ridge from over the weekend. A great example of snow heating up around dark features (rocks/vegetation) to the point small chunks of soggy snow roll down the slope and entrain enough additional wet snow that the next thing you know there is a wet loose avalanche. Photo taken on Monday, 4.17.23.
Lingering Wind Slabs: For those seeking the dry snow in the higher elevations, lingering wind slabs or some kind of surprise dry slab avalanche could be found. Weather stations have not shown strong enough winds to move snow since early Sunday morning, so any dry slab should be fairly stubborn. That said ,in steep rocky terrain where slopes are unsupported from below, this is the ideal place to find one of these older slabs. The slab triggered last Saturday on Captain’s Chair was most likely an older wind slab.
Cornices Falls: Cornices tend to slowly ooze over during the warm weather and can become more likely for us to accidentally cause one to break off. Give these an extra wide berth and limit time under them.
While the main avalanche concerns lie in the upper snowpack, there is still a suspect layer of rounding facets buried 3-6′ deep. This layer was responsible for many very large human triggered avalanches in the second half of March, but we have not seen any activity on it for three weeks. Although it would be very unlikely to trigger an avalanche this deep now, we are keeping in the back of our minds, especially as the snowpack slowly warms. Once the snowpack starts seeing significant warming, we are anticipating some big wet slabs in the future.
Yesterday: Mostly clear skies were over the region yesterday. Ridgetop winds were light from the north and west. Daytime temperatures warmed into the mid 30’s in the mid elevations while the ridgelines staying in the 20’sF.
Today: Clear skies this morning should give way to some high clouds through the afternoon. Ridgetop winds are expected to be light and variable today before turning easterly overnight, 5-10mph. Temperatures should warm again into the mid 30’s around treeline and stay in the 20’sF along the higher peaks.
Tomorrow: Mostly clear skies continue through Wednesday and even into the weekend. Ridgetop winds should be generally light and variable. Temperatures could climb several degrees higher tomorrow, Wed, afternoon/evening with daytime warming.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||32||0||0||90|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||30||0||0||42|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||32||0||0||84|
|Bear Valley – Portage (132′)||35||0||0||–|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||23||NE||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.