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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Fri, April 5th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, April 6th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Sunny skies and warm temperatures this afternoon will again bring a late day increase in avalanche danger.  This morning will start with a  LOW avalanche danger, increasing to  MODERATE by the late afternoon.  

South facing slopes with the most solar exposure during the day will be the greatest concern.  Shaded north aspects are a better bet for finding quality snow.

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Fri, April 5th, 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

The wet avalanche problem was worse just a few days ago.  At this point the cold freezing overnight is creating a stiff crust on the snow surface that takes time for the solar radiation to melt and penetrate into deeper layers.  Roller balls and other signs of instability at the surface show up more quickly in powder snow than in our current crust.  That being said, sunny skies and warm temperatures can be the trigger for avalanches this afternoon.  Travel decisions should be adjusted accordingly to limit exposure to south facing slopes late in the day.  

With freezing overnight, the temperatures in the deeper snowpack remain relatively cold.  We are not yet reaching the isothermal status where larger and deeper avalanches are expected.

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

These are pictures of the Goat couloir avalanche from Tuesday, a great example of the worst case scenario right now.  This appears to be a very large cornice failure, which triggered a slab below and to the side of the cornice.  The resulting avalanche traveled far for this path.  

Cornices will become less stable in the afternoon as the sun heats them up and weakens their overhanging structure.

Weather
Fri, April 5th, 2013

Several days of clear skies and strong temperature swings between day and night are creating a melt/freeze cycle on the snow surface.  Temperatures last night dipped to the mid teens at 4000 feet elevation after reaching above freezing during the day.  At sea level peak daytime temperatures hit the low 40s in some areas.  Wind has been light, and we haven’t had any precipitation in several days.

Today’s weather looks like more of the same, but a change is expected tonight.  Snowfall is in the forecast for the weekend and into next week.


Fitz will issue the next advisory Saturday, April 6th.

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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
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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.