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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Mon, January 14th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, January 15th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The hazard is CONSIDERABLE above treeline today, where human triggered avalanches are most likely in steep wind loaded starting zones.   Below treeline the hazard is MODERATE, where it is still possible for skiers, riders and snowmachiners to trigger avalanches.

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Mon, January 14th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
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

Deep slab avalanches continue to be our greatest concern.  This most recent load of snow, while dense, is probably not enough to drastically increase the likelihood of triggering these large and destructive avalanches.  The weak layers formed in October and November are now buried 4-10 feet in many areas, and are getting more difficult to impact with the weight of a person or snowmachine. 

Areas to avoid today are trigger points in upper elevation starting zones, where those weak layers are only covered by 1-3 feet of slab.  If you’re able to hit one of these spots, the potential for avalanches to propagate across large areas remains very high.  What this means is that the chances of starting one of these avalanches is low to moderate but the consequences are very high.  Human triggered deep slab avalanches in the past two weeks have produced impressive amounts of debris, and still warrant our attention. 

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 a gradual rise in temps over the past 2 days, we have an “upside down” scenario in the upper layers of the snowpack.  Pit tests at treeline yesterday on Tincan revealed this weakness and showed potential for propagation across slopes.  AKDOT was also able to trigger many avalanches around Bird Flats and Girdwood in the storm snow yesterday.  While the storm snow totals were higher in these areas, the general trend of warming over the past 48 hours is similar in both places.  Expect this problem to resolve itself more quickly than the deep slab problem.

Weather
Mon, January 14th, 2013

In the past 24 hours Turnagain pass has received ~8″ of new snow with .8″ water.   Winds have been light to moderate out of the East averaging in the teens with gusts to 49 mph.   Temps at 1800′ have been around 32 with temps at ridgetops in the mid twenties.
The biggest news in weather is that the forecasted rise in temperature and heavy precip did not come to fruition on Turnagain Pass.   The Girdwood Valley has seen almost twice the amount of precip in the past 24 hrs.
Look for precip to taper off today and temps to start gradually dropping with freezing levels descending to sea level by tonight.
The extended outlook calls for a break in precip later today into Tuesday with snowfall returning by midweek.   Temps will be significantly cooler through the next 3 days.

_______________________________________

Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, January 15th.

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

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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.