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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, December 28th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, December 29th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline.   New snow, warming temperatures and lingering deeper instabilities in the snowpack warrant careful decision making today.   Above treeline pockets of fresh wind slab up to 10″ in depth in terrain with a Westerly component have the potential to pull out deeper layers of snow.   Below treeline warming temperatures will make it easier for skiers and snowmachiners to trigger lingering pockets of slab in very steep terrain.

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Sat, December 28th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
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
Moderate (2)
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
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

While there have only been small amounts of occasional snowfall in the month of December, we continue to observe lingering instabilities in our snowpack.  Collapsing has been occurring at all elevations for several weeks now.  Snowpit results have shown that the potential still exists for skiers and snowmachiners to trigger avalanches in steep upper elevation terrain.  This was the case in a skier triggered avalanche that occurred on December 26 (see photo below).  Strong winds that cranked on December 23rd helped to create dense slabs that are sitting on weak snow in upper elevation starting zones.  Avalanches of late have been sliding on weak snow just above a crust that was formed in early December.

It will be important to continue to treat steep slopes over 40 degrees with suspicion today.

Photo of a skier triggered slab avalanche that occured on December 26th.  No one was injured in this avalanche.  (See write up HERE)

Superbowl Av 12-26

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

3-5” of new snow overnight combined with moderate to strong winds out of the East have created shallow pockets of wind slab in the higher elevations.  While these slabs will be relatively small, they will be sensitive to the weight of a person or snowmachine.  It is more likely to trigger a newly formed pocket of windslab compared to a deeper, older slab today.  However, the potential exists for these smaller avalanches to trigger layers deeper in the snowpack.  This 1-2 combo of fresh wind slabs and persistent slabs will make it critical to avoid steep starting zones in the higher elevations today.

Weather
Sat, December 28th, 2013

In the past 24 hour the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up 3-5 € of new snow with .2-.3 inches of water.   Winds have increased overnight and have averaged 26 mph out of the East since 10pm at the Sunburst weather station.   Temperatures have been on the rise as well with Seattle Ridge reading 25 F and Sunburst at 23 F at 6am.

Temperatures will continue to rise today into the upper 20s to low 30s F.   Snow showers in the higher elevations will lay down another 1-2 € of snow today.   Light rain and freezing rain will fall between sea level and 1,000′.   Precipitation will taper off by early afternoon.   Ridegtop winds will be out of the East and Southeast at 25-30mph.

The extended outlook is calling for generally dry conditions and mild temperatures over the next several days.

Observations
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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, October 26th, 2020

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
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.