|Travel Advice||Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.||Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.||Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.||Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.||Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.|
|Likelihood of Avalanches||Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.||Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.||Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.||Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.||Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.|
|Avalanche Size and Distribution||Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.||Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.||Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.||Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.||Very large avalanches in many areas.|
The last couple days have brought steady stiff wind, and combined with light snowfall it has created a subtle stiffer layer of snow on multiple aspects. Yesterday we took a closer look at a couple small windslabs on the south side of Tincan. The small, isolated windslabs were becoming less likely to trigger. There is no persistent weak layer associated, but the subtle structure differences in the layering are just enough to make it break at an interface 1 foot deep.
This kind of windslab is manageable in the right terrain. It should be expected near ridges, under cornices, and may be easy to trigger the small low volume pockets. The manageability of this problem is directly related to the terrain. If you get surprised in steep, high commitment terrain it could very well be dangerous.
Cornices are building and may be unstable. One of the small slabs at Tincan was triggered by a naturally failing cornice. We can expect other cornices around the region to be large and easy to collapse under the weight of a person, snowmachine, or dog.
The deep slab is getting to be less of a problem. However, the high consequence of a large deep slab avalanche is still affecting my own travel decisions despite the low probability of triggering one at this time. Causing one today will require the right combination of a steep slope and shallow trigger point.
Temperatures have dropped dramatically over the last 2 days, and despite sunny weather today, it’s going to be a cold one. The highest temperature we see this morning is 10 degrees in Portage and it drops as you get to higher elevations. Above 3000 feet is negative temperatures.
Wind has been strong and steady at the ridgetops and in Turnagain Arm recently, a trend which will continue today. The wind chill factor up high will be quite cold. We can expect snow plumes blowing off the mountains, building windslabs and creating cornices. Some areas will see a strong northwest wind through channeled terrain.
Below treeline the combination of recent thawing temperatures and the deep freeze yesterday has created a solid supportable crust from 0-1500 feet elevation. There is good skate skiing potential on the crust today around Turnagain Pass.
Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning, January 26th.
|12/06/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||N Dumont|
|12/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
|12/04/23||Turnagain||Observation: Lynx Creek||Schauer / Keeler/ Predeger Forecaster|
|12/04/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst, 2400′ – 3100′ NW ridge common uptrack.||Arnav Verma|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge||Amy Holman|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Tony Naciuk|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: West ridge of Tincan Peak and Peak 4400||Kelli Spencer|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Lipps||Paul Schauer|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||Schauer / Keeler Forecaster|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan South Side||Anonymous|