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.
|01/23/21||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||Matti Silta|
|01/22/21||Turnagain||Observation: JOHNSON PASS||Anonymous|
|01/20/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Johnston-Bloom / Roberts Forecaster|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst and Tincan||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan 2900′ SW aspect below Hippy Bowl.||Kris Marshall|
|01/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs.||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer 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.