Share your feedback! Share your feedback!

How’s our new website?
How can we better serve you?

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, December 26th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, December 27th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

BOTTOM LINE
Dangerous avalanche conditions remain in the backcounty.
Between 3 and 4 feet of snow has fallen during the past 48 hours on a very tenuous and weak pre-existing snowpack. This coupled with additional snow and strong wind this afternoon will keep the avalanche danger HIGH. Human triggered avalanches are certain both above and below treeline and travel in the backcounty is not recommended.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
The AK DOT will be conducting avalanche hazard reduction work today on the Seward Highway between mileposts 99 to 83 (Bird-Twentymile River). Motorists should expect delays of up to 45 minutes between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. Updates will be posted at 511.alaska.gov.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Wed, December 26th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • 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

The strong easterly winds that accompanied the Christmas storm have died down slightly overnight but will be on the rise through the day today as another system is headed our way this evening. We have little information for above treeline and areas receiving wind due to low visibility and dangerous avalanche conditions but we can expect a good natural avalanche cycle occurred during the past 36 hours and will ramp up again this evening and into tomorrow with additional snow and wind.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Storm Slabs
    Storm Slabs
Storm Slabs
Storm Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within new snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slabs typically last between a few hours and few days (following snowfall). Storm-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

With the significant round of snowfall in the past two days, we have given our early season weak snowpack a good shock to the system. It was no surprise to see widespread avalanche activity yesterday. All the new snow has bonded well to itself but the problem is it is sitting on varying layers of weak faceted snow that will keep it from bonding to the mountain sides. This means avalanches are failing below the new snow making them 3-4′ deep and deeper in windloaded areas – slabs this thick are unmanageable. Observations from below treeline yesterday give a sense of this problem. As the new snow settles with the warming temperatures today the pack will shift from mostly unconsolidated new snow to a denser slab which will add to the already unstable situation. It is great to see so much new snow (a more than doubling of the pack) but patience will be the key to staying safe in the backcountry.

Weather
Wed, December 26th, 2012

It has been an extra white Christmas for the Eastern Turnagain Arm with between 3 and 4 feet of snow falling since the morning of the 24th. Yesterday, Turnagain Pass saw an additional foot of accumulation with storm totals around the area listed below. As this system exits to the north this morning another one is right on its heels and will usher in warmer wet conditions for this afternoon through Thursday evening. Snowfall amounts look to be in the 10-16″ range.

Total snow accumulation beginning early morning on the 24th:

Girdwood Valley €“ ~45 € snow with 4.5 € of water equivalent
Turnagain Pass €“ ~35 € snow with 3.4 € of water equivalent
Summit lake €“ ~8 € snow with 0.8 € water equivalent

Snow densities have averaged around 10% region wide, this next storm is warmer and should put down higher density snow along with rain or a rain/snow mix at sea level. Winds have died down overnight (E at 20mph gusting 40mph) but are forecast to increase again through the day (E in the 50-60mph range) with the rapid approach of the next system. Temperatures will rise a couple degrees today to the mid 20’s F at the ridgetops and low 30’s at sea level.


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).

Graham will issue the next advisory Thursday morning December 27th.

Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/06/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face
04/10/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Wolverine
04/10/20 Turnagain Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder
04/09/20 Turnagain Observation: Bench Peak
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Seattle Ridge
03/25/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′
03/24/20 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations
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

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.