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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, April 3rd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, April 4th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

If you haven’t already noticed, we’ve entered a spring pattern of warm days and intense sun affecting the snowpack.  The avalanche danger will start the day at  LOW and gradually rise to  MODERATE  as the day heats up.  South faces should be avoided late in the day as some natural avalanches have been happening over the last few days.

Other problems can be found on shady aspects, including triggerable wind slab and buried surface hoar.

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Wed, April 3rd, 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
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
More info at Avalanche.org

RECENT ACTIVITY

The most notable avalanche we saw yesterday was off Goat Mountain in the Girdwood valley.  We believe a cornice failed due to daytime heating and triggered a slab beneath.  This is a common occurrence in this place this time of year.  The travel distance of the avalanche was impressive, and farther than I’ve personally seen that path slide.  


With continued high daytime temperatures, wet avalanche activity in the afternoon remains the most likely problem to see today.  There are numerous examples of this happening over the last few hot sunny days.  

Heat induced avalanches are easy to avoid, especially when nighttime temperatures dip below freezing as they are currently.  Sometime in the mid afternoon when the snow surface becomes soft or wet, it’s time to avoid south faces, including spending time beneath south faces.  

Avalanche Problem 2
  • 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

The cornice problem is really an extension of the heat problem.  As the sun bakes the mountains and temperatures rise in the afternoon, unstable features like cornices lose strength and may fail spontaneously.  

This problem can be especially dangerous if they trigger larger slabs on the slopes below, as happened on Goat Mountain yesterday.

 

ADDITIONAL CONCERNS

Even shady aspects have had some avalanche activity since the last major snowfall.  Some of these can be attributed to wind slab over loose near-surface-facets.  Yesterday we found a low elevation north aspect slab that failed on buried surface hoar in the Placer valley.  Everything we’ve seen with this character is breaking at the recent storm snow interfaces ~12-24 inches deep.  These are common enough that all steep lines should be treated with a degree of respect.

Weather
Wed, April 3rd, 2013

Yesterday the warm and sunny weather continued.  Wind up high reached into the teens and 20s overnight.  Overall the only weather factor contributing to avalanche danger was the sun and warm temperatures.

Scattered rain and snow showers are forecasted today with mostly cloudy skies.  Temperatures are still expected to reach into the 40s at sea level in the afternoon.  If the sun doesn’t shine today there will be less concern for wet avalanche activity on south faces.  Wind should be light from the southeast.


Graham will issue the next advisory on Thursday, April 4th.  

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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 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
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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.