With Wednesday’s 6 inches of snow settled to ~4 inches the snow surface was quite inviting yesterday. Several people were out enjoying this on lower angle slopes and tracked up areas such as the front side of Tincan ridge. Reports from yesterday were in the form of whoomphing and collapsing but we did not hear of any avalanche activity. That being said, very few people have ventured past the easier accessed lower angle terrain, or short steeper slopes (several of which have already avalanched).
This “persistent avalanche” problem is guilty until proven innocent. We know the snowpack structure is poor. We know there are, at the very least, scattered slopes hanging in the balance waiting for a trigger. Yet, there is uncertainty as to how widespread these touchy slopes are. With a few more inches of snow possible today, warmer temperatures and increased wind, this will only add to the problem.
We went up yesterday to take a look at the avalanche that was remotely triggered from ~200′ away two days ago, Friday (11/16). This was on a steep slope on the southwest face of Sunburst and proves how unstable the pack is. More details HERE and HERE.
One of the most concerning aspects to our avalanche conditions right now are that the obvious clues so prevalent the past couple weeks are not nearly as obvious anymore – but the avalanche potential remains similar. This means it can be easier to be lured onto a slope before it breaks. The only clue may be the presence of a slab over a weak layer (if one looks for it), but recent avalanches, cracking or collapsing may not be observed. Furthermore, a slope may or may not slide, but if it does, the ride will likely be rocky and unpleasant. These are good things to keep in mind when the ‘go’ – ‘no go’ question comes up.
Below treeline the snowpack is a combination of crusts, low density snow and moist facets. This accompanied with the lack of a slab, mainly due to minimal wind loading, has kept avalanche activity at bay.
Fresh wind slabs may be formed today if the expected 2-4″ of snow with 15mph, gusts to 30, ridgetop easterly wind verifies. With the existing loose snow surface there is plenty of snow available for transport if we only see the wind. Any fresh slabs are likely to be shallow but touchy.
Mostly cloudy skies with temperatures plummeting into the single digits and low teens greeted backcounty travelers yesterday. A trace of snow fell throughout the day with very light northerly ridgetop winds.
Temperatures have rebounded this morning to ~20F on the ridgetops but are still inverted with mid teens in the lower elevations. Winds have bumped up slightly and are forecast to blow 15mph with gusts to 30mph from the east. Cloudy and obscured skies should keep visibility limited again today and there in a chance for 2-4″ of snow. This unfortunately looks to be our last shot of precip for the next several days to a week. Clear and cold conditions look to set in Monday through Thanksgiving.
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).
Kevin will issue the next advisory Tuesday, November 20th.
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wagner / Schauer|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.