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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, March 20th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, March 21st, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Stable conditions continue in the backcountry today.   The avalanche danger is LOW throughout our forecast region.

The only minor concerns are near the surface of the snowpack where sluffing can be initiated in steep terrain and occasionally small pockets of wind slab may be triggered.   Cornices continue to be the single most dangerous avalanche concern, as an easily avoidable problem with high consequences.

With our extended period of sunny weather and stable snow people are putting down tracks all over the mountains in our region.   Each track is a slope test, and after thousands of slope tests with favorable results we come out with a clear picture of stability.   Thanks to everyone who has sent us observations and photos from the backcountry.

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Wed, March 20th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Cornice
    Cornice
Cornice
Cornice Fall is the release of an overhanging mass of snow that forms as the wind moves snow over a sharp terrain feature, such as a ridge, and deposits snow on the downwind (leeward) side. Cornices range in size from small wind drifts of soft snow to large overhangs of hard snow that are 30 feet (10 meters) or taller. They can break off the terrain suddenly and pull back onto the ridge top and catch people by surprise even on the flat ground above the slope. Even small cornices can have enough mass to be destructive and deadly. Cornice Fall can entrain loose surface snow or trigger slab avalanches.
More info at Avalanche.org

Cornices

Cornices remain large and mature, and we continue to find new collapsed cornices with impressive paths of destruction below.  

Here is an account of the fatal cornice failure that happened in Haines earlier this year.   Good reading, photos, and reminders of the dangers we face in the mountains.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • 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

We hit the highest wind speeds overnight that we’ve seen in the last week.   Even before that wind we could find small natural and skier triggered pockets of wind slab in steep terrain above treeline.   Expect pockets of wind loaded stiffer snow today that could fail with a slabby character.

Loose snow

The picture below is a great example of our current sluffing problem.   Small point releases can entrain impressive amounts of loose snow in steep terrain.  

Weather
Wed, March 20th, 2013

The only notable weather in the last 24 hours was the wind last night.   Seattle ridge weather station recorded sustained wind to 28mph and gusts to 46mph from the northwest.   This is more than enough to create fresh wind slab.  

Colder temperatures are keeping melting and wet snow avalanches from becoming a problem.   The cold weather has also caused large temperature gradients in the surface snow which keeps that snow soft and carveable.   Read Wendy’s description of the process here.

Today, clear and cold weather continues.   Expect temperatures to reach into the 20s this afternoon.   Wind will be north to northwest from 14-33mph at the ridgetops.  

The longterm outlook shows an end to our sunny weather coming on Thursday night.   When that happens we can expect snow, warmer temperatures, and an increase in the avalanche danger.  


Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, March 21st.

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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.