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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Tue, March 20th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, March 21st, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
CNFAIC Staff
The Bottom Line

Good morning. This is Chris Engelhardt with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday, March 20th 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).

BOTTOM LINE

Above tree line there is a MODERATE avalanche danger concerning a variety of buried persistent layers. There also could be pockets of CONSIDERABLE danger for significant loose snow sluffing and point releases on south and sunny aspects today if things really warm up. Below tree line the danger is generally LOW, except for steep rolls and convexities where buried sun crusts and surface hoar may exist.

Continue to be heads up in the Placer Valley, Twentymile and Johnson Pass areas for triggering slab avalanches on buried surface hoar.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

The open alpine terrain was pretty well obscured yesterday and observations were limited for the higher elevations. We were relegated to below tree line terrain where the new, 6-10” of super light density snow made for blower conditions. We checked out a variety of aspects, SW, W and N through NE/NW and found the new snow to be virtually shooting down the hillside rapidly on anything steeper than 35degrees. We attributed this to its very light density, but its velocity could also have been increased due to its laying on widespread surface hoar on the old snow surface. Also, a beefy new suncrust formed on the south aspect during the past weekend adding yet anCNFAIC Staff bad layer not only for skiing, but for stability on the south aspect.

Concern #1: Loose snow & Wet Loose Activity

If the day develops into being sunny and clear with warming temperatures there will be wet loose natural activity on south and sunny aspects. The new snow will easily sluff off this weekend’s suncrusts and surface hoar and will be actively shedding from cliffs and steeper areas. Avoid skiing or snow machining on or underneath terrain that is getting direct solar radiation and heat. Also, expect very reactive and quickly moving sluffs on all aspects when skiing/riding today.

Concern #2: Buried Surface Hoar

The new surface hoar had been widely seen before yesterday’s new snow, check out these observations HERE and HERE). It has been widely observed on all aspects and elevations.

We also know that a surface hoar layer developed previously before last week’s big 2-3 foot snow fall and is lurking on variable aspects and elevations. This older surface hoar layer was very reactive and triggered numerous slides around the Placer drainage at the end of last week, but it has been harder to find and identify in the Turnagain Pass Zone. This being said, it remains a concern and is definitely something to look for as you perform future test pits.

Concern #3: Buried Sun Crust

An old suncrust around 2 feet below the surface still resides on most sunny aspects. Yesterday, we were able to get fairly easy to moderate failures with clean planer shears on this layer in test pits. This layer could provide a deeper trigger point on south aspects if you would hit the “sweet spot”. Also anCNFAIC Staff suncrust formed this past weekend and proved to be a great sliding surface for yesterday’s new snow, it also proved to provide horrible breakable crust for making turns.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER

Yesterday we found 6-10” of new light density snow at Turnagain Pass. Winds were very light and temps were fairly warm 25-30F at 2000ft elevation. It snowed steadily and was coming straight down throughout midday. We saw that it was snowing over an inch an hour around 100pm when we returned up our skin track to check out a different aspect. Winds remained very light overnight 7-12mph and were swirling from all directions. Temperatures hovered around the mid-teens at ridgetops and more than likely it continued to snow a decent amount yesterday evening at the pass.

Today, a chance for snow showers exists with partly cloudy to sunny conditions and warm temperatures at lower elevations. If these sunny and warm conditions do prevail today backcountry travelers will need to be real aware of staying away from warming sunny aspects.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday morning. 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.

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Tue, March 20th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, October 26th, 2020

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
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Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
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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.