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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, January 26th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, January 27th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

A MODERATE danger lingers above treeline for shallow windslab, unstable cornices, and stubborn deep slab.   The windslab and cornice are avoidable and manageable problems in moderate terrain.   Deep slab avalanches are becoming less likely, but high consequences remain if one is triggered.   Below treeline is a solid supportable crust, making the avalanche danger LOW below 2000 feet.

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Sat, January 26th, 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
  • 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

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. 

Avalanche Problem 2
  • 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 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. 

Weather
Sat, January 26th, 2013

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.

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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.