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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, April 18th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, April 19th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Winter continues in the mountains.   Cold temperatures overnight are keeping the meltdown at bay – for now.   The combination of sunny skies and daytime temperatures reaching above freezing has created pockets of unstable snow across our forecast region.   A rash of small avalanches have been reported over the last week, and that trend will likely continue for the next few days.  

Despite a generally stable snowpack, we need to watch out for shallow slabs that could be triggered by a skier or rider in steep terrain.

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Thu, April 18th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
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
Moderate (2)
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
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

The top 2 feet of our snowpack is where the issues can be found.  Depending on aspect the sun has had significant effect to most slopes – either directly on the surface or by creating a series of now buried crusts. 

In general, the better snow can be found on non-south aspects that get less sun exposure.  Watch out for shallow slabs like the ones that we’ve been seeing recently.  Check out the observations page for some examples of what to look out for. 

The avalanches we’ve been seeing have followed a consistent pattern.  Size has been low volume, but they run surprisingly far for the amount of snow involved.  Most aspects are affected, with south having more of a crust/facet issue and north having more of a wind slab issue.  


Picture is from last weekend on the south face of Sunburst.

 

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Dry Loose
    Dry Loose
Dry Loose
Dry Loose avalanches are the release of dry unconsolidated snow and typically occur within layers of soft snow near the surface of the snowpack. These avalanches start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-dry avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Shaded slopes still hold dry snow at higher elevations.  Those areas are prone to loose snow sluffing by skier initiation.  Just like the slab problem, the volume is relatively small but they can still travel good distances.  

Additional Concern
  • 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

Wet avalanche problems will start soon.  The current pattern of cold overnight temperatures has kept it from becoming an issue, but it’s only a matter of time.  As always this time of year – think about heat induced avalanche activity in the afternoon when the surface crust melts and the snowpack loses strength. 

Weather
Thu, April 18th, 2013

Deja Vu.

Our stretch of sunny weather continues with freezing temperatures overnight and very little wind.  

No snow or rain expected.  Low temperature to 18 degrees, highs expected to reach the high 30s to low 40s at sea level.  NE wind 0-10 mph, with some areas reaching higher speeds near Whittier and Seward.


The next advisory will be issued Saturday, April 20th.  

Observations
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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.