While the likelihood of triggering a cornice today will vary from slope to slope, the consequences of being near or under a cornice as it releases will be high. Cornices have grown very large over the last several series of storms. We have seen what can happen when one of these backcountry bombs impacts a slope. We also received a report of a large cornice fall over the weekend in the Goldpan area that pulled out snow to the ground (stay tuned for more info on this avalanche). Most cornices in the Turnagain Pass area are found on South and Southwest aspects. Pay attention to what’s above you when traveling up valleys and what is below you while moving along ridgecrests. Try to imagine what would happen if one of these beasts broke below your feet or sled or came hurtling down towards you and adjust where and how you travel accordingly. The tricky part about potential cornice release is that it is hard to predict when they will release. The chances of them releasing will get better as the sun hits those South and Southwest aspects. Planning your day by moving off of sunlit aspects as the surface becomes damp will allow you to minimize your expsoure to cornice falls as well as loose snow avalanches today.
As the day heats up on sunlit aspects, expect loose snow avalanches to become easier to trigger. Combine these relatively small avalanches with isolated pockets of wind slabs and volume will increase to the point where snow could easily knock you over. Getting knocked over above terrain features such as cliffbands, gullies and trees will make these avalanches harder to walk away from unscathed. Loose snow sluffs will be dry on shaded northerly aspects and be more damp on southerly aspects. As such expect sluffs to be moving faster on shaded aspects and have potentially higher volume on sunny slopes.
Yesterday my partner and I encountered fresh shallow wind slabs above treeline in the Girdwood Valley. Average depth of new wind slabs are less than a foot where they exist. Many areas did not recieve enough wind to create wind slabs. However, there was enough variation in wind patterns over the weekend that isolated pockets exist. Also be on the lookout for older pockets of wind slab that were created with the high winds of last week. These will be less likely to trigger but are still out there, particularly in steep upper elevation starting zones.
In the past 24 hours the mountains around Turnagain Arm have picked up a few inches of new snow. Winds have been generally light out of the East at 10 mph with gusts to 20 mph. Temperatures have been in the upper teens at 3,880′ with freezing level remaining around sea level.
This morning lingering snow showers should give way to clear skies by this afternoon. Winds will average 10mph out of the North. Temperatures at 1,000′ will be in the low 30s F.
High pressure will dominate over the next several days with clear skies and relatively mild temps.
Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, March 12th.
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.