Share your feedback! Share your feedback!

How’s our new website?
How can we better serve you?

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Tue, January 7th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, January 8th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

A CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists above treeline for triggering a large slab avalanche 2-3′ deep. Areas of most concern are steep slopes over 35 degrees on all aspects, especially those with prior wind loading. Below treeline the danger is MODERATE for triggering a slab avalanche ~2′ deep. These avalanches are breaking in weak snow near the base of the snowpack.

Conservative terrain selection is the key for a safe day in the backcountry. Safe places to recreate are slopes 30 degrees or less without steeper terrain above or connected to you.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Tue, January 7th, 2014
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
  • 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

There was no new avalanche activity reported yesterday. Though once again, few people are venturing into avalanche terrain, including myself. We did get some additional photos sent in of the natural cycle that occurred two days ago (see photo below as well as the link). These avalanches were breaking in the weak snow near the ground and taking the majority of the snowpack with them. Triggering a large slab that sits on the brink is the essence of our primary concern.

Without much change in the weather, it will take a person, group of people or a snowmachine to trigger one of these avalanches. After this last storm the slab is becoming thicker, up to 3’ in places. This can make it harder for your weight to impact the weak layer at the base of the pack and trigger a slide – but the consequences are high.

Below is South facing Lipps Ridge on Turnagain Pass. Avalanche occurred naturally late on 1/4 or early 1/5 (SSW, 3,400’)
 

 

A few words on snowpack assessment:
Information has been limited since the end of the weekend’s storm. With little visibility and very few people testing the steeper slopes our main clues for evaluating the snowpack continue to be snow pit data and collapsing.

Snow pit data: What we are finding is a slab between 2 and 3 feet thick composed of all the December and January snow (4.8” water equivalent at 1880ft). Under this is the well documented weak faceted snow above and below the December drizzle crust. Stability tests are showing that it’s getting harder to collapse the weak layer(s), but once failure occurs all bets are off and large dangerous avalanches are likely if the slope is steep enough. 

Collapsing: Several people, including our staff, continue to report collapsing while traveling. This means a person can trigger a failure in the weak faceted snow and subsequently an avalanche. What this tells me is that even though the pit data says it should be hard to trigger a slide, maybe it’s not that hard after all. These obvious signs of instability should always trump pit results.

Below 1,500’ a series of crusts and wet snow make up the snowpack and triggering an avalanche is unlikely.

Weather
Tue, January 7th, 2014

Yesterday morning a small system moving through added 1-2 € of snow to the upper elevations on the Pass and .1 € of rain below 1,500′. Alyeska, on the other hand, was favored and reported 6 € on the upper mountain with rain at the base. Winds during the past 24-hours have decreased from the 20mph range to the 5-10mph range from the East and temperatures have remained in the 20’s on the ridgelines and low 30’s at 1,000′.

Today we should see mostly cloudy skies and warm Southeasterly flow with no precipitation. Temperatures look to remain in the mid 20’s above treeline and low 30’s below treeline. Ridgetop winds will be light from the Southeast in the 10mph range.

Tonight into tomorrow the warm conditions remain with a chance for 1-2 € of snow and rain below 500′. The next good shot of precip is difficult to tell as the weather models are having a hard time with the extended outlook.

Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/06/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face
04/10/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Wolverine
04/10/20 Turnagain Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder
04/09/20 Turnagain Observation: Bench Peak
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Seattle Ridge
03/25/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′
03/24/20 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations
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

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.