Good morning this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, November 25th at 7am. This will serve as 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).
Turnagain Pass is now open to winter motorized use from Ingram Creek to Bertha Campground. All CNFAIC Staff motorized areas in the District will remain closed including Johnson Pass, Placer, and 20 mile due to lack of adequate snow coverage. Overall depth at Turnagain is adequate yet marginal. Riders should be aware of exposed natural hazards consistent with early season riding.
Pockets of MODERATE danger can be found in steeper terrain, near ridgetops where the wind has built a stiffer slab. This slab is likely to be buried under the recent 8-12 inches of loose dry snow. Most areas will start this morning with a LOW danger rating. Keep a close eye on the weather today. The additional snow predicted will contribute to an increasing trend on the hazard.
The past few days have brought cold dry snow, which fell on top of a variable surface. At this point we aren’t too concerned with the recent snowfall. It came in with minimal weight due to the cold temperatures. The underlying old stiff windboard from a week ago, sitting on top of decomposing facets is more of a concern right now. We have no reports of recent natural or human triggered avalanches, but some test results and a closer look at the underlying structure is lowering our confidence of the current stability. Those pockets of Moderate will be found in steeper terrain, near ridgetops, with an older buried windslab of variable thickness.
I encourage people to spend some time digging quick pits to get a better feel for the snow. We are finding the old 2-12 inch windslab sitting on top of weak facets. The stiff slab is sometimes supportable, sometimes cracking under your weight. Shooting cracks are possible, but isolated to this layer. Test pit results will likely find easy shears below the stiff layer.
This scenario will be more of a concern when we get a significant additional snow load on top of our current snowpack. The danger rating could increase quickly if we get a moderate to large snowfall or a wind event without snow.
Clouds and snow are expected today. We got about 3 inches of light dry snow in the last 24 hours. AnCNFAIC Staff 4-10 inches are predicted today. Wind has been light over the last 24 hours and it should continue that way through today. Temperatures are in the single digits to mid teens this morning. Daytime highs should be in the teens with colder temps at upper elevations.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
I will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.