In the last 48 hours we have seen some big lines skied between Girdwood and Turnagain Pass; it’ll be a good idea to approach big terrain with extra caution today until you can answer the question: How well is todays new storm snow and fresh wind slabs bonding with yesterdays snow surface? Forecasters found the gamut of surface conditions yesterday from impenetrable crusts at lower elevations to stiff wind board and soft wind textured powder growing surface hoar and facets at upper elevations. Lots of quick hasty snowpits (hand pits or pole pits) to look at the storm interface may give you good information today before committing to a specific slope.
Wind slabs forming yesterday and today are expected to be shallow in the 6-18” range proving manageable in most terrain, however pockets still exist where deeper, large avalanches are possible in isolated areas (see photo below). As always, escape routes and zones of safety are critical when recreating in these mountains.
6-8’ hard slab likely ran on a buried crust sometime between March 8th and March 11th. Debris was 10-15’ deep at the toe of this avalanche. This is a good example of a large, unmanageable avalanche that can be found in isolated areas. Notice how low on the slope the crown face is; likely due to 100+ mph winds last Thursday loading this slope well below the ridgeline.
Cornice fall is still very much on our radar and will be a genuine concern again today. The good news with cornices is that they are generally easy to manage. The fact that we can see them means we can avoid them, and avoidance is key. Don’t spend excessive time underneath cornices and stay much further back than you think necessary when travelling along a corniced ridge. Cornice fall is quite unpredictable, but expect them to become more unstable late in the day as temperatures and any direct sunlight warm the snow surface.
Three days in a row of sunshine and blue sky in the backcountry produced a lot of smiles in the parking lots for those of us lucky enough to find a day off mid-week. Today we can expect moderate winds from the east in the 20-35mph range and mostly obscured skies as a weak surface low moves through our area. Snow is expected throughout the day in the eastern Turnagain Arm region with totals in the 4-8 € range. Temperatures look to stay cool enough that snow is expected at sea level.
We may squeeze another inch or two of snow out tonight as this low dissipates and skies begin clearing again overnight and into tomorrow.
Fitz will issue the next advisory Friday morning, March 15th.
|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: email@example.com
|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.