Share your feedback! Share your feedback!

How’s our new website?
How can we better serve you?

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Mon, November 12th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, November 13th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

Due to early season conditions, for both the snowpack and our operations, we will be issuing intermittent snow and avalanche updates until November 17th, as conditions dictate.

BOTTOM LINE
Avalanche conditions in the Turnagain Pass area have stalled out during the past week. Areas below treeline and lower angle slopes are where people have been recreating and these areas have remained intact. The most likely place to trigger an avalanche continues to be the upper elevation steeper slopes. These areas are believed to be hanging in the balance, due to our poor snowpack structure, and need either a person or a decent storm to get them to slide.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Don’t forget to check the photos/observations page for early season information. Also, the calendar page is filling up with free awareness classes and other avalanche education courses offered in our area.

SNOWPACK and AVALANCHE DISCUSSION  
With only a few inches of new snow falling over the weekend with rain below 1000′ the avalanche conditions are in somewhat of a stale mate. The surface (and riding) conditions on the other hand have definitely changed. A thin crust caps the snowpack from ~2,000′ and becomes thicker below. Above treeline dry snow still exists with varying degrees of wind slab and unsupportable loose snow. Total snow depth varies from one to three feet.

The most concerning areas for triggering an avalanche remain untouched. These are the upper elevation steeper slopes. Many of these areas are also still riddled with rocks, making them fairly uninviting from that perspective as well. Exposed areas got their fair share of wind over the weekend forming stiff wind slabs. Traveling in this type of terrain yesterday we had several collapses and cracking in nearly all of the wind loaded areas we stepped on. The layer collapsing is the weak snow from October. Below is a pit dug in one of these upper elevation wind loaded locations.

These pit results say the snowpack has the right ingredients for a slab avalanche but in order to slide there needs to be some kind of rapid load (i.e., a person in the right place or a good shot of snow).

Looking forward to the next significant storm, triggering an avalanche that breaks into the Oct facets is a real possibility (the system rolling through this week does not look to have enough umph). These slides could propagate in areas that are not expected. Remote triggers (for example, triggering an avalanche on top of you from below) will be possible and conservative route finding will be the ticket until this faceted layer gets enough load to either flush out with widespread avalanche activity and/or has time to adjust to the load.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Mon, November 12th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1

This week we have seen a lull in both the weather and avalanche activity, but with new snow and wind on the way for the weekend we can expect that to change. Storm snow instabilities within the new snow, in the form of sluffs and storm slabs, will be likely if the forecasted 10-14″ of snow verifies. These problems should settle out rather quickly, in a day, or at most 2 days.

However, the bigger story, and most concerning, is the new snow load reactivating the old October facets (see image below). It only took 6-10″ of new snow last weekend to create a very touchy slab avalanche problem. With this storm, the facets are not quite as loose as they were a week ago now that they have been buried for 5-6 days. Yet, they are still there and reactive and have the potential to produce larger avalanches this time around. If we get enough snow and wind to get them going that is. The one thing this system does have that the last one didn’t are much stronger winds. These will produce larger wind slabs that form both near (like last weekend) and well off the ridgelines (unlike last weekend).


Snowpack before the Fri-Sun (11/9-11/11) storm sets in. Main concern is faceted layer. Existing surface is generally composed of soft decomposing fragment from last storm.

Any avalanche triggered within the old Oct snow will be around 1-3′ deep and could propagate in areas that are not expected. Remote triggers (for example, triggering an avalanche on top of you from below) are possible. Hence, very conservative route finding is the ticket until this faceted layer gets enough load to either flush out with widespread avalanche activity and/or has time to adjust to the load.


Above cracking is a red light to stick to lower angle slopes, 30 degrees or under (including what is above you).

Weather
Mon, November 12th, 2012

Last weekends storm added a mere 2-4″ of snow above treeline and wet snow and rain below. This coming Tuesday night through Thursday another system is headed our way that is taking a similar path. However, this systems looks to be a bit cooler. Right now the models are showing snow totals to be minimal, a few inches in the Turnagain area with possibly up to 8″ if we get lucky.

Stay tuned at our weather page.

Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/06/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face
04/10/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Wolverine
04/10/20 Turnagain Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder
04/09/20 Turnagain Observation: Bench Peak
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Seattle Ridge
03/25/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′
03/24/20 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations
Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 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
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.