Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, November 29th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, November 30th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

We are issuing advisories 5 days a week through November on Sat, Sun, Tue, Thur and Fri.

ANNOUNCEMENT

A reminder that all motorized use remains  CLOSED due to thin snow cover.  The Forest Service will open these  areas as soon as possible when snow depth allows.  Watch for status updates at the bottom of this advisory page.

BOTTOM LINE

A thin and weak snowpack continues to dominate our avalanche discussion.  Reports of avalanche activity have dropped over the last week, but a poor snow structure still holds the possibility of causing avalanches.  Wind in the weather forecast today could form the stiffer slabs that have been mostly absent over the last week and could contribute to a rising avalanche danger.  

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Thu, November 29th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

Clear and cold weather and total lack of recent precipitation is keeping the status quo in the backcountry.  Our thin snowpack is made entirely of weak, poorly bonded crystals.  Most of the time when we talk about weak snow like this it means big avalanche problems, but for the time being we are missing the crtitical component of a stiffer, stronger, and heavier slab on top of the weaker snow.  Steeper slopes at higher elevations may still hold pockets of avalanche potential, however.  The likelihood of trashing skis on rocks is a good limiting factor to keep in mind if you get a wild hair to start exploring onto steeper slopes.  

All this clear weather is forming abundant surface hoar on top of all the faceted snow.  It’s going to be game-on for dangerous avalanches when we finally get new snow on top of all this junky base.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Wind slab is not yet a problem as of this morning.  The National Weather Service is calling for increasing strong north winds across the region starting today.  

Remember, all we need is new stiffer snow on top of our current snowpack to complete the avalanche recipe.  Strong wind could be enough to build pockets of avalanche potential.

Weather
Thu, November 29th, 2012

Looks like another clear and cold day in paradise!  A strong temperature inversion can be found this morning, with ridgetop temperatures in the 20s and valley temperatures below 0.  Competing air masses, between a blocking High pressure across Alaska and a Low in the southern gulf of Alaska, will build strong pressure gradients across Southcentral Alaska and strong north wind.  This wind is expected to stay into Saturday.  The general pattern of a high pressure ridge in the Bering sea will persist into next week.


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).  

Wendy will issue the next advisory Friday morning, November 30th.

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Riding Areas
Updated Tue, January 12th, 2021

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
Open
No parking in turnaround at end of the road near the outhouse.
Placer River
Open
Early season conditions exist, including thin ice on rivers, swamps and lakes. Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Open
Early season conditions exist, including thin ice on rivers, swamps and lakes. Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Open
Lost Lake Trail
Open
Primrose Trail
Open
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed for the 2020/21 winter season.
Snug Harbor
Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Open
Summit Lake
Open

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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.