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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, January 3rd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, January 4th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The danger will rise to HIGH above treeline today, where newly formed wind slabs will become very sensitive to human triggers.   Below treeline the hazard remains at CONSIDERABLE, where human triggered avalanches are still likely and natural avalanches are possible.

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Thu, January 3rd, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Deep Persistent Slabs
    Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a thick cohesive layer of hard snow (a slab), when the bond breaks between the slab and an underlying persistent weak layer deep in the snowpack. The most common persistent weak layers involved in deep, persistent slabs are depth hoar or facets surrounding a deeply buried crust. Deep Persistent Slabs are typically hard to trigger, are very destructive and dangerous due to the large mass of snow involved, and can persist for months once developed. They are often triggered from areas where the snow is shallow and weak, and are particularly difficult to forecast for and manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

Yesterday a skier on Tincan triggered a large avalanche and fortunately avoided burial.  This was a very destructive avalanche, pulling out most of the snowpack on this slope.  For info and photos of this avalanche click here, here and here.  Stay tuned for more info on this avalanche.

During times of intense precip, like today, the likelihood of triggering deep slabs goes up.  As storms subside the likelihood will go down.  The high consequences, however, do not change.

The fact remains, and will remain for a long time, that weak layers near the ground are still weak.  All it takes is finding a spot where the slab is less deep, i.e. where we can impact the layer more easily, and large destructive avalanches will occur.  These trigger points are often very difficult to detect.  The usual warning signs of recent avalanches, shooting cracks or whoompfing may not present themselves before it’s too late.  

Observations from New Years Eve allowed us to see areas above treeline that have been greatly affected by high winds.  Some areas have been scoured to the ground while other areas are holding massive slabs.  With such a great variety of slab depths at the upper elevations, the potential to find a trigger point is now greater.  The best way to manage this problem today is to avoid terrain that is steep enough to slide.

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

With up to 10 inches of new snow and 50 mph winds forecasted, expect wind deposited new snow to be sensitive to human triggers today.  The likelihood of getting wind slabs to release will be higher today than deep slabs.  However, the potential for relatively shallow avalanches to step down into deeper layers make this a problem not to be trifled with.  Below treeline and in sheltered areas, new storm snow unaffected by winds will also be a problem to look out for.

Weather
Thu, January 3rd, 2013

In the past 24 hours snowfall amounts have been in the 2-3″ range, ridgetop winds have averaged 35 mph out of the East and temps have remained mild, with freezing levels hovering around the 1000′ level.
Snowfall will pick up in intensity this morning and into the daytime hours, with total accumulations of up to 10″ possible during the day.   Ridgetop winds will be 50-60 mph out of the SE, and temps at 1000′ will be in the low 30s F.
The general pattern of unsettled weather will continue through the weekend.   Look for precip to continue and a gradual cooling trend to set up as we move into next week.

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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
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Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
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Summit Lake
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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.