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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, April 18th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, April 19th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, April 18th 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS

This advisory will be updated on Saturday morning. Keep checking our photos/observations page for more up to date information.

Alaska DOT crews may be conducting avalanche hazard reduction along the Seward Highway Wednesday-Friday. Visit 511.alaska.gov for updated information on road closures.

Remember to swing by the Turnagain Pass motorized lot on April 22nd between 4 and 7pm for FREE FOOD and FUN at the 2012 Corn Harvest!!

BOTTOM LINE

We have a CONSIDERABLE danger today (Wednesday) for wet loose and wet slab avalanches at all aspects and all elevations. With intense sun and light winds, possibly beginning later today and forecast through Friday, the danger may rise to HIGH – this can happen in a matter of hours. The mountains are warming up and the snow is shedding off in a variety of ways. VERY CAUTIONS travel is necessary in the backcounty and AVOIDING ALL AVALANCHE TERRAIN, THIS INCLUDES RUN OUT ZONES, IS ADVISED.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

The “shed cycle” is on as the mountain snowpack continues to warm, lose cohesion and, literally, fall down. It’s that time of year where it’s best to just let the pack do its thing for a week or two while it seasons into a summertime snowpack. Avalanche conditions are dangerous and riding conditions are , well, a sloppy mess.

Several wet loose and wet slab avalanches have been seen in the Eastern Turnagain Arm area during the past few days of rain and snow. The smaller slides are failing at and above treeline in the 2-10″ of very wet snow from 4/15 and 4/16 and larger, up to class 3, slides in the older saturated snow below. The west face of Pyramid Pk. has a few brown streaks indicating glide/wet slab activity has increased on west slopes. South and east continue to produce avalanches and north, though more behind the game, is seeing shallow wet sluffs. North aspects, above treeline, also have the old March 27th buried surface hoar that may still be a player. This photo shows two crowns that look to be dry slab avalanches breaking on buried surface hoar and triggered by an overrunning wet sluff.

The photo below is of Seattle Ridge where slides have been occurring and more are possible.

Primary Concern – Wet Avalanches

Rain below 1500′ and wet snow above for the past 3 days has added ~2″ of water (slightly more in the Girdwood Valley) to our already warming pack. With sun in the forecast for Wed-Fri, including light winds and warm ambient temperatures, the pack will continue its demise. We have seen size 2 and 3 wet slides but these could become larger and running further in the next week. Staying away from any type of avalanche terrain is recommended until the pack adjusts, develops drainage channels and becomes a solid summertime pack.

Above treeline – Persistent Slab

There is a layer of buried surface hoar that sits 12-24″ deep on northwest through northeast slopes at and above ~2500ft. This layer still may be reactive and is suspected to be the weakness in 2 natural avalanches on 4/16 on north facing Tincan mid-slope around 2500′.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER

Rain and snow has been over our area for the past 3 days and put down ~2″ of water equivalent in the Turnagain Pass area. Rain fell below 1500′, around 2″ of extremely wet snow fell around treeline and upwards of 10″ of heavy snow fell above 3000′.

Skies are clearing this morning and partly sunny conditions should prevail for the next few days. Temperatures look to be near 50F below treeline and in the 40’s above. It’s warm! Winds are expected to be light, 5-10mph from the east.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

We will issue the next advisory Saturday 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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Wed, April 18th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Observations
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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
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.