Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
It seems as though winter has arrived. More so in some areas than others. Below is a quick rundown of storm totals from the weekend.
Rough estimates as of now:
Winner – Hatcher Pass – up to 3′ and more at the upper elevations, dang! HPAC Bulletin HERE.
Second – Girdwood Valley and the Front Range – 18″ and more at the upper elevations.
Third – Turnagain Pass and Summit Pass – 10-12″ and likely more at the upper elevations.
This was generally a warm(ish) storm with wet snow at sea level (in Girdwood) to dry snow at the mid and upper elevations. The satellite image shows the plume of moisture that is funneled up from the south. The flow gets channeled up Cook Inlet into the Talkeetnas and splits (to some degree) around the Kenai – image from yesterday Nov 10th, 3pm. Hence the greater snow amount at Hatcher Pass.
Along with the new snow comes the avalanche season, and it is here in many areas. Things to be on the lookout for are both storm snow instabilities as well as how the new snow is sticking to the variety of preexisting surfaces.
Storm snow instabilities: These are in the form of fresh wind slabs, sluffing in the new snow or soft slab avalanches often due to upside-down storms. Simply being aware of your surroundings can tell you much about what type of storm snow issues you may have to deal with.
Preexisting surface concerns:
– Bare ground. This can be a problem when the ground is warm. If new snow stacks up quick enough, storm snow can be lubricated from underneath and slide – either in a slab or a point release avalanche.
– Old snow – above 2000ft. We have little information on the preexisting snow at the higher elevations but all signs point to it being mostly loose and faceted (photo below). This is due to our recent cold/dry spell. Other types of surfaces that have been reported are hard windpacked snow, wind/rain crusts and creamy recycled powder. Though none of these surfaces are great for new snow to bond with, it is the loose faceted snow that seems the most prevalent and is a textbook weak layer. Any snowfall or wind deposited snow on top of this is a perfect avalanche producer. I’d be very suspect of areas with old snow underneath – these areas are usually the same places we want to recreate.
Loose faceted snow from 2,400ft on Seattle Ridge – Friday, Nov 8th.
A note on rescue gear:
If you haven’t done so already, make sure all your rescue gear is in order. That means putting new batteries in your beacon and cleaning the terminals if necessary. Check to see if the cable that holds your probe together is still well intact at the hinge points and not going to break upon assembly. Is your airbag working properly? The American Avalanche Institute has a bunch of great blogs to peruse as we await the white stuff.
We will be updating this advisory page intermittently during November due to minimal of snow cover. As soon as the snow flies in earnest we will begin issuing full advisories.
For anyone getting around the mountains – please send us your observations!!
The November 10th storm has moved through and skies are breaking this morning as cold air fills its place. Instibility showers may continue in some areas today but skies should clear for both Tuesday and Wednesday.
|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: email@example.com
|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.