|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.|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|12/04/23||Turnagain||Observation: Lynx Creek||Schauer / Keeler/ Predeger Forecaster|
|12/04/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst, 2400′ – 3100′ NW ridge common uptrack.||Arnav Verma|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge||Amy Holman|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Tony Naciuk|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Lipps||Paul Schauer|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||Schauer / Keeler Forecaster|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan South Side||Anonymous|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies up track||Luc Mehl|
|12/01/23||Avalanche: Sunburst||John Sykes Forecaster|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s trees||Anonymous|