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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sun, December 1st, 2013 - 7:00AM
Mon, December 2nd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW above and below treeline in the Turnagain Pass area. Caution should be exercised on steep slopes near ridgelines and peaks where isolated wind slabs exist and may be possible for a person to trigger.

This forecast will extend through tomorrow, Monday. The next advisory will be issued Tuesday morning, December 3rd.

Sun, December 1st, 2013
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

For anyone getting out in the mountains today, the main concern is triggering a lingering wind slab avalanche. These are isolated to the high elevation steep slopes (over 40deg) on north, south and east aspects.


With little new snow and moderate wind, our thin snowpack is in a holding pattern. The weak layers of earlier this month are still there, but the slabs are deteriorating to the point they are becoming weak layers themselves (picture below). The one exception is areas that have seen wind. Hard wind crusts and slabs are littered about above treeline, yet these are slowly deteriorating as well. Our focus now is on the weakening pack and how the next snowfall will react with it when it’s buried.


Well, we polished off November 2013 yesterday and I’d characterize it as a dry month with a few small weather events. This November was a bit similar to last year but quite different than two years ago. Below are comparisons of November snow data. If you would like to view the full charts and explanations of the numbers they are available on the ‘Weather History’ tab under ‘Weather’ above. 

November precipitation from the Turnagain Pass SNOTEL for the past three years below. Note: Average snow water equivalent for November is 4.9″ – we are around half that for this year at 2.6″.

Sun, December 1st, 2013

We have a significant warm up occurring today to replace the frigid temperatures we have endured that last several days.  During the past 24 hours, temperatures at the upper elevations have begun to climb from below zero into the teens (F), yet at 1,000ft single to minus single digits remain entrenched. Wind has been steady in the 5-10mph range with gusts to 25mph from the northwest.

For today (and into tomorrow) temperatures will continue to rise at the mid and upper elevations into the 20’s F, however the cold air pooled in valleys will likely remain chilly. We should see clear skies and wind ~10mph with gusts in the 20’s from the northeast.

Many of us are looking into the weather crystal ball (weather prediction models) to see if the storm heading our way for the middle of the week will add any snow to our pack. It looks like it should give us a little something but it is still too early to tell. Until then, clear skies and warmer temperatures are on tap through Tuesday.

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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.