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.
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.
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.