Good morning, this is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, November 9th. This is our final intermittent update (barring any unforeseen weather or avalanche problems in the next few days). Saturday, November, 12th, we will begin issuing 5 day a week forecasts (Fri,Sa,Su,Mon and Wed) until we are able to resume full 7 day a week forecasts.
A glide avalanche cycle is currently upon us. Those of you who have driven toward Girdwood and over Turnagain Pass would be hard pressed not to notice numerous glide avalanches littering the landscape. These often have released during the dark hours overnight but during the day as well. Unfortunately, glide avalanches are not well understood and are hard to predict. Avoidance is a good tactic. There are several glide ‘cracks’ visible where the snowpack has not slid but is slumping down the slope opening a crack above, in this case the snowpack may avalanche or not. Tricky and spooky.
CNFAIC Staff avalanche problems we are seeing are wind loaded slopes off ridgelines and in cross-loaded gullies. There was a report on Saturday, Nov 5th, of one person caught and carried by triggering a windslab in the Seattle Creek drainage. In addition, there was a report of significant collapsing in the snowpack in Seattle Creek on Tuesday, Nov 8th. Collapsing is a big ‘red flag’ that unstable snow is under you. If you feel a collapse, or hear a ‘whoomph’, steer clear of the slopes above and around you.
Remnants of the storm that wreaked havoc in western Alaska is heading into our region now. Snow showers are forecasted to begin later on Wednesday and into Thursday with anCNFAIC Staff system moving in for the weekend. As our snowpack piles up, more riding and skiing opportunities exist but the potential for avalanches also increases. Keep in mind any new snow and wind will increase the avalanche danger. Always approach the backcountry with caution and remember the basics; look for obvious clues a slope may slide (recent avalanches is one), only one person on a slope at a time, have, and know how to use, your beacon, shovel, and probe.
Tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 9th, we will be hosting the first of a series of five free Fireside Chats at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood at 7pm. Tonight’s theme: introduction to avalanche awareness. More details are on our training and calendar page.
WEBSITE CHANGES and INFO
We have expanded our photos page to include observations from both the CNFAIC forecasters as well as the public. Please keep checking this page as there will be lots of information to glean. Thanks to all the observations submitted so far!
Check out the training and calendar page on our site. Here you will find avalanche awareness talks and CNFAIC Staff education information. Including a link to an application for a snow safety scholarship offered by the Friends of the CNFAIC – a great opportunity! You must be a member but it’s only a minimal cost of $10.
A huge thanks to all our current members for your support! The Friends could not do it without you and us without the Friends.