|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.|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|12/01/23||Avalanche: Sunburst||John Sykes Forecaster|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s trees||Anonymous|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – God’s Country||Graham Predeger Forecaster|
|11/30/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
|11/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Ridge||Schauer/ Stiassny Forecaster|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender||Anonymous|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Ben Sullender|
|11/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan trees||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/21/23||Observation: Spokane Creek||John Sykes Forecaster|