|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.|
It was a fairly quiet day in the backcountry yesterday. We did not see or hear of any avalanche activity, nor were there too many folks out watching last weekend’s clear skies fill with clouds. We did get one report of soft wind slab conditions found in steeper north facing terrain.
Today, moderate to strong easterly winds accompanied by a few inches of snow is on tap. Fresh wind drifts and slabs will be forming on the lee side of ridgelines and in catchment zones mid-slope. These are likely to be sensitive to human triggers but in the shallow range (4-12”) due to the modest amount of new snow and the limited existing snow available for transport. Keeping an eye out for smooth rounded surfaces, stiff feeling snow and shooting cracks will be key to avoiding triggering a wind slab avalanche.
Below treeline a stout crust exists on the surface where the few inches of new snow today will likely get blown around and drifted into pockets. These pockets should be quite small but at the same note, will have a hard time sticking to the crust. In the case snowfall amounts increase to more than a few inches, watch for these small drifts to become larger and more worrisome.
The deep slab avalanche problem remains in the back of our heads. We are still concerned that in shallow areas above treeline there is a chance a person could trigger a slab avalanche breaking in the weak snow near the ground. Keeping with good travel practices – exposing only one person at a time, moving efficiently through steep terrain and steering clear of shallow areas near rocks is the best bet for avoiding one of these larger and more dangerous slides.
Cloudy skies, rapidly warming temperature and scattered snow showers have moved in overnight. This has quickly replaced the cold and clear weather that dominated the weekend. Overnight, Girdwood Valley and the Turnagain area picked up 1-2 € of low density snow but the snow showers are tapering off this morning. Temperature is on the rise at all elevations – ridgetops have gone from -10F to ~+10F in 24 hours while lower elevations have seen a jump from ~-15F to +15-25F. The easterly wind that is responsible for bringing in the warm air has been in the 10-20mph range gusting near 40mph.
Today, snow flurries will continue but look to only add another inch or two in favored locations – for a total of 2-4 € of new snow. Temperatures look to top out in the mid to upper teens at ridgetops today and the mid to upper 20’s below treeline. The easterly wind will remain in the 15mph range with gusts to 40mph.
Wednesday and Thursday will see cloudy skies, increasing temperature and a better shot for snow accumulation. We should see snow at sea level today but this will turn to a rain-snow mix Wednesday.
Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, January 30th.
|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: Lipps||Paul Schauer|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||Schauer / Keeler Forecaster|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan South Side||Anonymous|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies up track||Luc Mehl|
|12/01/23||Avalanche: Sunburst||John Sykes Forecaster|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s trees||Anonymous|