NOVEMBER 10th, 2020
Mostly clear, sunny skies yesterday provided a good opportunity to get a look around. It’s beginning to look more like winter in the Turnagain Pass forecast area. The storm Saturday night through Sunday brought around 2′ of snow to upper elevations in Girdwood and 12-16″ to Turnagain Pass. There were also some strong winds with this system and wind effect was evident, especially in the Alpine. Evidence of a storm initiated avalanche cycle at upper elevations was observed from the road, north and south near Girdwood, as well as slide in Portage.
Prior to this storm the old snow sitting on the ground starting around 1500′ had started to facet and become weaker (sugary). This is easy to feel traveling with your pole and easy to see in a quick pit. Observers noted whumpfing yesterday, especially above 2200′ where the wind effect on the snow was more evident and the snow over the facets more slab like. Finding a steep slope with this structure could be more avalanche prone. With more snow and wind in the forecast tonight through Thursday, it will be important to remember this weak snow near the ground and watch the overall slab development. The temperatures look to fluctuate in this incoming storm system so there may be some rain/heavy wet snow at lower elevations. Remember to check the Current Weather page for the weather forecast and weather station information.
Snowpack structure at 2000′ on Tincan. Note the weak (facet/sugar) snow near the ground.
Wind effect looking up towards Common Bowl on Tincan. The snow depth is quite variable due to the wind distribution. 11.9.20
A few people have been venturing out. Check out the observations page for both Turnagain and Summit Lake. It is definitely early season conditions at low elevations with shrubbery hazards and rocks. As we are still gathering information about the snowpack, ease into terrain, look for signs of instability, and use good travel protocol. This is also a great time to practice rescue skills!
***If you are heading to Hatcher Pass please check hpavalanche.org and their Facebook page.
Avalanche Center Operations: We will continue to provide conditions updates and are planning on issuing the first forecast around Thanksgiving.
Getting into the mountains? Please send us your snow/avalanche reports so we can post them on our observation page! Simply click ‘submit observation’ under the Observation tab. This is a huge benefit for the community and our forecasters.
*Keep tabs on early season conditions and events on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.*
From Friday, November 6th – Check out the recording of the 2020 Virtual Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop (SAAW). HERE.
Thursday, Nov 19:
SNOW STORIES III
The 3rd annual fundraiser will have an amazing line up of storytellers on the virtual stage. Watch Cody Townsend, Elyse Saugstad, Ian McIntosh, Israel Hale and Kathy Still share their personal stories on snow. Anticipate a wild evening of lessons learned, adventure and comradery. Expect to laugh, cry and maybe learn something new.
All proceeds made from ticket sales go to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center (CNFAIC).
Cost: 20$. For Zoom tickets register on HERE.
December 1, 15, 29 and January 14:
CNFAIC Forecaster Chat Series – VIRTUAL!
Time: 7-8pm, Cost: FREE
Forecasters will hold a series of online chats. These will begin with a recap of last season, an outlook for the coming year, and move into an in depth discussion on the various avalanche problems and how they impact the Turnagain Pass region. These are great opportunity to ask questions about specific avalanche conditions and decision-making.