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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Mon, March 4th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, March 5th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is LOW in many areas today.   The most recent round of snowfall that occured last week has shown to be well bonded to older snow surfaces in most areas.   The hazard will be MODERATE in upper elevation starting zones, below cornices and as temperatures climb above freezing at the lower elevations today.

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Mon, March 4th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
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

While it has been several days since any significant snowfall has accumulated, recent ridgetop winds have been high enough to blow snow around and create fresh wind slabs.  Expect to encounter these slabs in upper elevation starting zones.  Be on the lookout for snow that feels hollow or looks smooth and pillowy.  These slabs will be confined to smaller pockets but will be up to a foot in depth.

Additional Concerns

Cornices
Warm temperatures and sunshine helped to release several cornices in the forecast area on Saturday.  While cloud cover will help to lower the likelihood of natural cornice releases today, warm temps and recent winds will conspire to make this a real problem in the mountains today.  A cornice triggered avalanche that occurred on Magnum on Saturday is a prime example of why it is important to know what is above you when traveling up a valley.  

Loose Snow avalanches
Wet loose snow will be moving under the influence of a person’s weight today.  Avoiding steep terrain as the snow surface becomes more damp will be the best way to avoid this problem.   This problem will be more pronounced in the lower elevations.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

A weak layer of snow sitting on a crust at the mid elevations (1,500′-3,000′) continues to be a concern.  This weak layer/crust combo is buried 2-6 feet deep and has shown to be less of a problem on Turnagain Pass but more pronounced in outlying areas such as Summit Lake and the Girdwood, 20 Mile and Placer Valleys.   With rising temperatures this interface is more of a concern, as it will become easier for a person or snowmachine to affect these deeper layers.  As with all of the concerns today, pay attention to the thermometer and back off steep terrain as things warm up.

Weather
Mon, March 4th, 2013

The mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up just a trace to 1″ of new snow in the past 24 hours.   Temperatures have been mild, with high 30s F at sea level, mid 20s F at 2,400′, and low 20s F at 3,800′.   The Seattle Ridge weather station has been reporting winds averaging in the mid to high 20 mph range out of the SE with gusts to 46.

Today expect mostly cloudy skies and temperatures warming to 37 degrees F at 1,000′.   Winds will be out of the SE at 5-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph.   Snowfall amounts will be very light.

The extended outlook calls for continued mild temperatures and a mix of sun and clouds for the next several days.

____________________________________________________________________

Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, March 5th.

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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.