Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger remains MODERATE at all elevations. A few inches of new snow and cooler temperatures should limit wet snow avalanches on slopes above 1,000. However, fresh small wind slabs could form on slick crusts in the higher elevations. Additionally, on steep north facing slopes with dry snow there remains the unlikely chance a person could trigger a large slab, 3 or more feet deep, as occurred last week.
PORTAGE VALLEY: Be aware of avalanches occurring overhead during warm afternoons. This area can see large wet slides that can run close to commonly traveled areas.
*MONDAY AVALANCHE OUTLOOK: A MODERATE danger looks to continue. Clearing skies and slightly warmer afternoon temperatures may cause wet loose avalanches to again be easy to trigger. The next forecast will be Tuesday, April 25.
End of Season Operations: We will be issuing forecasts 4 days/week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday) until April 30th. If conditions warrant, updates will be posted in early May.
With the cooler temperatures yesterday, the afternoon sun was only able to trigger a few wet loose slides in steep southerly terrain. Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet day in the backcountry.
Wet loose avalanches from the past two evenings on a NW facing slope in the Lost Lake area. As the sun gets higher it’s harder and harder to find dry snow on northerlies. 4.22.23.
|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|
An unseasonably cold weather system is pushing through today that brought chilly overnight temperatures and a few inches of snow this morning. As of 6am around 3-4″ of snow has fallen in Girdwood Valley, 4-6″ in Portage Valley, 2-4″ at Turnagain Pass, and what looks like just a trace in Summit Lake. Snow level is at sea level but could rise slightly this afternoon. Ridgetop winds are fairly light, around 5-10mph, but from all directions; above 3,500’ish they are NE while mid and lower elevations are more westerly.
All that said, with such small snow amounts the only new avalanche problem might be small wind slabs at the high elevations. These would be in the 4-8″ deep range depending on how much snow falls and should not pack much of a punch. The new snow is falling mostly on crusts and if an area sees over 4-5″ then shallow sluffs should be expected. This afternoon, small wet avalanches may again occur in the low elevations, below 1,000′, with daytime warming.
The main problem that could wreck our day is still the unlikely chance someone triggers another deep slab. Hence, why this remains ‘Problem 1’ despite a few inches of new snow. Once skies clear enough to access the higher terrain, we really want to be sure everyone seeking the last remnants of dry powder on shaded slopes understands there are lurking old weak layers. The Big League avalanche was a sore reminder that old weak layers just can never totally be trusted. Unfortunately there is no way to accurately assess this problem in the field. For those that don’t want to mess with it, avoiding big steep slopes and steep rocky terrain is the only option.
MONDAY: If the sun comes out tomorrow any new snow that heats up will easily sluff off the frozen crusts that cover most of the surfaces on steeper slopes. Again, with only a few inches of new snow these should be fairly small sluffs.
General Springtime Hazards: Other hazards associated with the spring melt cycle include cornice fall and glide avalanche release, which are both very unpredictable and can produce large avalanches. We recommend minimizing time spent underneath large cornices or glide cracks.
A few inches of snow to sea level this Sunday morning. This is the RWIS Portage Curve camera, 7am April 23rd. Gap winds are blowing along Turnagain Arm, but fairly quiet in the mountains.
Yesterday: Partly cloudy skies were over the region with light north and westerly winds along the ridgelines (5-10mph). Temperates climbed to the 30-40’s but cooled into the 20’s overnight at all elevations.
Today: A cool storm system is moving through. Cloudy skies and light snow showers should persist into the afternoon. Around an inch of additional snow is expected on top of the 2-5″ already seen early this morning. Ridgetop winds are variable in the 10mph range. Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid 30’s at the lower elevations but remain in the mid 20’sF in the Alpine.
Tomorrow: Partly cloudy skies are expected tomorrow with light and variable winds. Daytime temperatures could warm into the 40’sF at sea level and near 30F at the higher elevations.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||36||2||0.1||85|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||36||0||0||39|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||37|
|Bear Valley – Portage (132′)||41||3||0.4||–|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||28||NNW||4||13|
|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.