The north winds have ravaged the upper elevations. We continue to hear of parties feeling collapsing and whoomphing on ridgelines and some able to trigger slabs 2-6″ thick. These slabs may be shallow but they are stiff and can be dangerous if triggered in ‘no fall’ zones (i.e., over cliffs). Since most of the higher terrain has significant wind affect, you are likely to find many areas with a breakable and annoying wind crust along with the scattered areas of wind slab. Unsupported slopes are the most concerning (see the second photo for an example of this). Our unusually cool spring has allowed the facets below these slabs to persist and wintertime cold snow issues to remain above treeline.
Photo is of Graham Predeger monitoring the breakable wind crust Saturday that covers most upper elevation slopes. This is near the top of the Burns glacier ~4,000ft.
Below treeline today, and on southerly aspects with little wind, you can expect the crusty surfaces to warm up late in the day. The cool temperatures and breeze may keep warming limited, however if you do come across a slope with more than 6 inches of mushy wet snow avoid it. If this is the case triggering a wet loose snow avalanche is quite possible and can entrain a lot of heavy snow and run far.
Below is a photo from Saturday. The wet avalanche activity is a few days old (from Tues/Wed) but the picture demonstrates what our mountains look like and the variable nature of the snow conditions.
The much anticipated “shed cycle” has not produced yet and maybe this will be one of those years we don’t really see it. The cool northerly flow and clear nights has kept the pack from warming up. However, we do have a warmer system moving in this week so keep your eye out any avalanche activity associated with this.
Sunny skies prevailed once again yesterday. Winds were light from the northwest in the 5-10mph range. Temperatures climbed to the mid 20’sF on the ridgelines and low 40’sF at 1,000′.
Today should be another brilliant day in the backcountry with the only change being breezier northerly winds. The winds kicked up last night (averaging 10mph gusting 23mph on Sunburst and bit more at Seattle Ridge) and will be on a slow decrease today. Expect ridgetops to blow in the 10-15mph range with gusts to 30mph from the north. Temperatures will again climb into the 20’sF at the upper elevations and ~40F at 1,000′.
For Tuesday into Wednesday look for a change in the pattern. Models are showing a shift back to a moist southwest flow with the approach of a low pressure system in the north Pacific. Warmer temperatures, clouds and precipitation should return to the Eastern Turnagain Arm.
This wraps up our final advisory for the season. We will be updating this page around May 1st with springtime avalanche concerns so check back mid-week. Thanks!
|05/28/22||Turnagain||Avalanche: Turnagain Pass – late May wet slab cycle||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/21/22||Turnagain||Avalanche: Magnum, Lipps and Tincan||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/17/22||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/17/22||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Ridge||Joe Kurtak|
|05/11/22||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit and Magnum west faces||CNFAIC Staff Forecaster|
|05/07/22||Turnagain||Observation: Granddaddy||Kit Barton|
|04/29/22||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst wx station||AS/ MM/ AM/ NH|
|04/28/22||Turnagain||Observation: More Turnagain Pass/Summit Lake wet slab activity||Alex Marienthal|
|04/27/22||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Sykes / Buttrick Forecaster|
|04/27/22||Turnagain||Observation: Girdwood/Summit/Turnagain Road obs||A S|
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.