Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
A quick look around the mountains of Turnagain Arm should create an accurate general impression of current conditions. No new snow in over a week. Tracks in many areas with steep terrain. Variable surface conditions, ranging from shiny sun crust to smooth powder pockets to windblown stiff slab. Some minor wet avalanche activity and a few pockets of dry sluff and dry slab are evident in some areas.
Overall, the snowpack is fairly stable. Pockets of shallow unstable snow can be found, but should be the exception and should be small and manageable in size. Watch for those unstable pockets in steeper terrain, especially in the far reaches of the forecast area.
From now until the end of April we will be issuing advisories on the weekends and Tuesday and Thursday (Sa,Su,Tue,Thur). Keep checking the observations page for information that comes in – during the week especially. And for those getting out, keep the reports coming! The next advisory will be on Thursday, April 18th.
Also, a reminder that Skookum drainage is closed to motorized use.
Last weekend we got a rash of reports of skier triggered avalanches. There was a good size avalanche in Surprise Bowl in Girdwood with people partially buried, a remotely triggered slab on Silvertip, and small slabs kicked loose in Turnagain Pass. Through the work week we haven’t had any more reports of similar avalanche activity, but we expect some areas may still behave this way.
With fantastic spring weather and strong temperature swings between day and night the snow at the surface is getting faceted and weaker. This process breaks up the slab character and makes it more difficult for stiffer snow to connect together in larger plates. We think the slabs that people found a week ago will be more difficult to find this weekend because of that faceting or degrading of the stiffer pockets.
Skiers and snowmachiners are putting tracks all over the place right now, including steep terrain. It’s a good time to explore some of the farther reaches of Alaska, but keep in mind that anomalies may be found.
We saw some really large overhanging cornices yesterday, including one that had recently fallen. This concern increases late in the day as temperatures rise and the cornice structure loses strength. Avoid spending time below overhanging cornices and watch your exposure at the ridgetops.
The wet avalanche meltdown still has not begun. Direct south facing slopes, especially at lower elevations should be suspect late in the day. As the daytime temperatures heat up the snow there is a corresponding loss of strength and wet avalanches may be initiated. Temperatures last night did not get as low as they have been, so there may be a slight increase in activity this afternoon.
One more day of sunshine before a pattern change… Tomorrow we have clouds and a chance of precipitation in the forecast.
Nothing major is notable in the weather of the last 24 hours through today. Overnight temperatures were a little warmer last night – in the low 20s. This could make it easier for afternoon warming to produce wet avalanche activity.
Wind is light from the southeast. Afternoon temperatures should reach into the low 40s again today.
Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, April 21st.
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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|
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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.