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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, November 14th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, November 15th, 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

Despite minimal snow cover and only 3-5″ of new snow today (Wednesday), avalanche conditions remain touchy on the upper elevation slopes due to the presence of a persistent weak layer in our snowpack. The potential for a person to trigger a 1-3′ deep slab avalanche continues to be possible above treeline in the Turnagain Pass and surrounding areas (including the Girdwood Valley and Summit lake regions). See the discussion below regarding two human caused avalanches from over the weekend. Many of these upper elevation slopes are hanging in the balance, due to our poor snowpack structure, and need either a person or a decent storm to get them to slide. Areas below treeline and lower angle slopes (where most people have been recreating) have a lower avalanche potential and have remained intact.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Keep checking 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

Over the long holiday weekend we heard of two human triggered avalanches. The first was on Saturday Nov. 10th in the higher terrain above Girdwood Valley. This slide caught, carried and partially buried two people while ascending a slope – a great write up can be found HERE. The second was on Monday Nov. 12 and occurred on Todd’s run, a northwest facing bowl off the Tincan ridgeline. Details are limited with this second slide but can be found HERE.

The suspected weak layer for both of these avalanches is the October faceted snow. This “sugary” layer is 4-8″ thick and sits on the ground or old hard snow left over from the summer. Above the faceted layer is 10-24+” of snow from early November that varies from unsupportable loose powder to hard wind slab. The areas of most concern are where the Nov snow is supportable to the weight of a person, such as wind slabs. Hollow, or punchy snow is something to look for as well as listening for whoomphing, feeling for collapsing and watching for cracking.

With a few inches, and possibly up to 6″, of new snow, sluffs and some smaller new snow slab avalanches may be seen Thursday into Friday. Keep in mind these new snow instabilities, involving only the new snow, are less concerning than triggering an avalanche that breaks into the October snow.


The above avalanche is on Todd’s run, a NW facing bowl off of the Tincan ridge. Believed to be skier triggered on Monday.

Looking forward to the next significant storm: We are still waiting for a system to roll through large enough to add a big load to our pack and hopefully shake up this pestering faceted later. When this happens we could see slides propagate in areas that are not expected and remote triggers (for example, triggering an avalanche on top of you from below).

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Wed, November 14th, 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)
Weather
Wed, November 14th, 2012

As of Wednesday evening, 3″ of new snow has fallen at the SNOTEL on Center Ridge; this often mean 4-5″ at the upper elevations. The snow has come in with easterly ridgetop winds blowing 10-15mph with gusts to 30mph. Snowfall should taper off tonight and tomorrow, possibly adding another inch, and skies clear by Friday into Saturday. Temperatures have been in the mid twenties on the ridgelines and just above freezing at sea level. Snow line has been hovering between 200′ and sea level. With the clearing skies Friday and Saturday winds are expected to shift to the north and colder air is headed our way.

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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.