Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, December 7th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, December 8th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
CNFAIC Staff
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Unseasonably warm temperatures continue.  Avalanche danger is generally  LOW  simply because the snowpack is so shallow and for lack of a stronger cohesive slab.  Some unstable snow may be found in the form of low volume wet/loose sluffs.

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Sat, December 7th, 2013
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)
Avalanche Problem 1

Conditions right now are odd for December in Alaska.  Total snow depth is only 15-30 inches, barely enough to justify putting boards on your feet.  Exposed rocks and trees continue to be the primary backcountry hazard.

In some ways the snowpack is showing characteristics of typical Spring conditions with point release avalanches possible in the warmer and higher elevation areas.  Unlike springtime, the wet/loose activity is entraining weaker faceted snow and volume is severely limited by the shallow snowpack.  The freezing rain and temperature inversion started forming an ice crust a couple days ago, but in areas where temperatures have been above freezing for 24 hours, the crust has given way to soft and wetter snow.

This combination is allowing for low volume wet/loose avalanches that can travel at slow speeds for a reasonable distance if the slope is steep enough.  Probably nothing to be afraid of, but something to watch for, and definitely atypical for December.  Point release activity like this has been seen around Summit Lake and in the Girdwood valley.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

We got a report this morning of significant avalanche debris in the Portage valley near a popular ice climb, fresh in the last couple days.  This is a great reminder that specific terrain features can harbor problems, especially when you are dealing with big, steep terrain and finicky weather in places like Portage.

Avalanches like this are the main reason why we don’t believe our avalanche advisory for Turnagain Pass is a good indicator for Portage, Whittier, or the heavily glaciated regions closer to Prince William Sound.

Weather
Sat, December 7th, 2013

Rain was falling across our region on Thursday.  That trend dried out yesterday, but temperatures have been above freezing for most of the last 24 hours at all elevations.

This morning we can see a temperature inversion again.  Sea level temperatures are cooling off and dipping below freezing.  Ridge top temperatures are still in the upper 30s, the rain/snow line is predicted at 5600ft today.  Wind is light from the northwest.

Looking into the future, a cooling trend is expected.  No major snowfall is in the forecast.  This means we can expect a stout melt/freeze crust to firm up this week.

Observations
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Riding Areas
Updated Thu, April 01st, 2021

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
Open
No parking in turnaround at end of the road near the outhouse.
Placer River
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
The Skookum Valley is closed to snowmachines. This closure occurs annually on April 1 as per the CNF Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Open
Lost Lake Trail
Open
Primrose Trail
Open
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed for the 2020/21 winter season.
Snug Harbor
Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Open
Summit Lake
Open

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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.