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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, December 22nd, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, December 23rd, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

A MODERATE danger continues above treeline, on upper mid slopes in areas with stronger surface snow.   A LOW danger rating describes the areas below treeline where nearly all the snowpack consists of loose weak layers.   We are unlikely to go to Low above treeline while we still find periodic collapsing and pit tests like the ones in the video here.

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Sat, December 22nd, 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

A shallow persistent slab is causing the greatest problems in the snowpack.  Looking through the observations photo gallery, a clear pattern emerges among the recent natural and human triggered avalanches over the last week.  We aren’t finding those avalanches all the way at the ridge tops, but rather on wind loaded mid slopes below the ridges.  This pattern directly helps us make some travel decisions by showing us the specific terrain to avoid this weekend. 

An observation from yesterday in Moose Pass showed clear red flags of collapsing (whumpfing).  This underscores the problem of a stronger slab overlying the persistent weak layers, and tells us that avalanches are still possible to trigger on steeper slopes that hold the right combination of strong snow over weak snow. 

Overall, we can assume that the likelihood of finding avalanches is decreasing slowly over time since the last snowfall.  The size potential may be decreasing as well.  Due to the persistence of the weak layers (they don’t get stronger easily or quickly) and the cold temperatures we’ve had recently, the trend is nearly stabilized.  This means that current problems aren’t getting better or worse, but are likely to stay at the same danger until we get a change in the weather.  Distribution is widespread on all aspects, but most common on upper mid slopes with wind loading. 

Weather
Sat, December 22nd, 2012

It’s been a cold week, but on the positive note we gain 11 seconds of daylight today!   A chance of snowshowers is possible for the eastern Turnagain Arm, but don’t get your hopes up for much snow.   A weakening high pressure across Alaska is still keeping the moisture stream to the south, giving snow to everybody in the lower 48 and Canada…

Expect cold temperatures to continue today.   A strong temperature inversion can be found on the Kenai, with some low spots reading in the -20s.   Ridge tops are balmy by comparison in the low teens.   Wind is a little breezy up high, but probably not strong enough to move our old snow or contribute to avalanche danger.


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 Sunday morning, December 23rd.

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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
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Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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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.