Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, December 19th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, December 20th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Join Wild Alpine and the Friends of the CNFAIC for the Girdwood Premier of TGR’s new film “The Dream Factory” – with scenes shot at Alyeska and the surrounding Chugach Mountains.  This is a fundraiser for the CNFAIC  and takes place at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill – Alyeska Resort. More details  HERE.

BOTTOM LINE

A Moderate avalanche danger continues in areas above treeline due to poor snow structure.   The old weak layers from November are buried under 1-2 feet of stronger and heavier snow from December, making for a relatively unstable combination.   Below treeline, Low avalanche danger dominates areas that have little influence from wind.  

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Wed, December 19th, 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

Well developed facets, buried surface hoar, even depth hoar is lingering in the snowpack across our region.  Only major precipitation or melting is going to make this problem disappear…  In other words, we will be talking about this problem for some time to come.  Signs of this problem are still easily found, including – collapsing, shooting cracks, and propagation in snowpit tests.  

In practice, the best way to deal with persistent weak layers is to tone down your terrain choices.  As time passes since the last snowfall, the likelihood of triggering avalanches diminishes.  Steeper areas may never become fully trustworthy without a big change in the weather pattern.  For now, choosing moderate terrain is the only sure way to stay away from the avalanche problem. 

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

Watch for wind slab in areas above treeline.  Recently deposited, stiffer snow is going to be the most likely to trigger and step down to the older weak layers.  Pay attention to the direction of recent wind loading (likely from the east, loading the west aspects.)

Weather
Wed, December 19th, 2012

No major changes are expected in the near future.   Today, decreasing temperatures and slightly increased wind is predicted.   Clear and cold weather will continue over the next several days.   A strong pressure gradient will produce gap winds across some of the major passes.   The next hope for snow is listed in the extended forecast sometime 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).  

Our newest forecaster, John Fitzgerald will issue the next advisory Thursday morning, December 20th.   Welcome Fitz!

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Riding Areas
Updated Thu, April 01st, 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
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
The Skookum Valley is closed to snowmachines. This closure occurs annually on April 1 as per the CNF Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
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.