Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Fri, November 22nd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, November 23rd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The storm that began yesterday afternoon produced a good bit of snow overnight.  We can expect a sharp increase in avalanche potential today, with that fresh snow overlying the old faceted weak snow that sat through the recent clear and cold stretch.  I expect a poor bonding interface and dangerous avalanche conditions above treeline today and into the weekend.  With a shallow snowpack there are still a lot of exposed rocks and trees that make avalanches and skiing somewhat more dangerous in the early season.

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Fri, November 22nd, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Considerable (3)
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
Considerable (3)
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
  • Storm Slabs
    Storm Slabs
Storm Slabs
Storm Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within new snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slabs typically last between a few hours and few days (following snowfall). Storm-slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

New snow that started falling Thursday afternoon built up to at least 1 foot deep at higher elevations.  Snowfall amounts look fairly consistent between Girdwood and Turnagain Pass.  In addition, the temperatures shot up from single digits to the mid 30s this morning.  Wind peaked last night but continues to be strong this morning with gusts reaching 64mph at Sunburst.  Those 2 factors – rising temperatures and wind – will make the new snow “upside down” or denser on the top than the bottom and quite a bit heavier than the underlying layer.  This is a classic “unstable” setup.  

Given the current snowpack, storm snow avalanches likely started happening spontaneously last night.  We aren’t talking about a lot of snow yet, but it’s enough to warrant strong caution today and into the weekend.  With a tapering of the snowfall this morning we won’t be seeing a lot more natural activity, but human triggered avalanches will remain a problem today.  

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

The ongoing wind is creating pockets of unstable snow in specific areas.  Sunburst has been reading wind averaging over 20mph and gusting over 60mph since the storm began.  Predominate wind direction at that site is from the East.  Seattle ridge has slightly less wind from an East Southeast direction.  That means West facing slopes and cross loaded North and South slopes are especially concerning.

Weather
Fri, November 22nd, 2013

With sea level temperatures currently in the mid 30s our snow has transitioned to rain in the lower elevations.  It also looks like the peak of this storm has passed for eastern Turnagain Arm but ongoing snow showers will continue for the next couple days.  Cooling temperatures are predicted which will transition the rain back to snow.  

Freezing rain in Anchorage and at sea level this morning is expected to cause travel difficulties.  Snow may become heavy at times in Anchorage this afternoon.

Schools in Girdwood and Seward are canceled today due to treacherous driving conditions!  Be safe out there!

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Riding Areas
Updated Thu, April 01st, 2021

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
Open
No parking in turnaround at end of the road near the outhouse.
Placer River
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
The Skookum Valley is closed to snowmachines. This closure occurs annually on April 1 as per the CNF Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Open
Lost Lake Trail
Open
Primrose Trail
Open
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed for the 2020/21 winter season.
Snug Harbor
Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Open
Summit Lake
Open

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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.