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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 17th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, January 18th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Graham Predeger
The Bottom Line

Above tree line elevations the avalanche danger remains MODERATE today.   The more time we can put between now and this most recent bout of wet storms the less likely it will be to trigger an avalanche.   However, large avalanches are still possible in isolated areas given the widespread buried persistent weak layers present in our pack.   Below tree line the danger is LOW.

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Thu, January 17th, 2013
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
  • 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

The deep slab issue continues to be our primary concern today in the backcountry and won’t be going away anytime soon. Terrain management becomes particularly important when dealing with persistent weak layers and also happens to be the toughest skill to master for mountain professionals the World over.  Today and for the rest of the season it will be prudent to expose only one person at a time to avalanche terrain and don’t park or hang out in run out zones.

Though the likelihood of triggering a deep slab avalanche is decreasing with time, overlying slabs are still showing the potential to propagate if a fracture is initiated.  Likely areas to initiate a fracture may be near trigger points such as rocks or trees mid-slope where the slab is shallow or interrupted.  We’ve seen numerous examples since the New Year of the destructive potential these large avalanches can harbor, and in the case of Repeat Offender last week, that particular avalanche was triggered remotely from a shallow trigger point.

The best surface conditions for skiing and riding today will be found above ~1500’ in areas where the snow is deep and consistent.  Below 1500’ the surface consists of a few inches of new snow over a stiff crust capable of supporting a snowmachiner.  This crust, formed by Sunday’s wet storm and subsequent cold temperatures could prove a future weak layer at lower elevations once overlain by a slab.

Weather
Thu, January 17th, 2013

Looking at snowfall totals around south central, Anchorage and Hatcher Pass (~12″) both appear to be eeking out a bit more snow than the Turnagain pass/ Girdwood region due to the up-sloping nature of this latest front.

Today we can expect light winds from the north and west with snow tapering off this afternoon (24 hour accumulation of less than 6″).   Temperatures will stay below freezing at all elevations as skies clear throughout the day. Looking out toward the weekend it appears we may be back into an active pattern of weather.

Fitz will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, January 18th.

Observations
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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
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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.