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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
Mon, February 10th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, February 11th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

There is a MODERATE avalanche danger today at elevations above 2,000′, these areas are just below treeline and above treeline. Human triggered soft slab avalanches 14-20″ deep are possible on slopes 35 degrees and steeper. Most likely places to find and trigger a soft slab are slopes with recent wind loading or where the new snow from Friday is still a cohesive slab. The majority of Friday’s snow is loose and unconsolidated.

Below 2,000′ the danger is LOW. These lower elevations harbor 2-14″ of loose snow over either ground or a crust and triggering an avalanche is unlikely.

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Mon, February 10th, 2014
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

A bump in wind this morning will be the main player in the avalanche game today. There has been a change in the weather overnight and skies are cloudy with a chance for 1-2″ of snow. The winds have just begun to increase from the East and are expected to reach the 25-30 mph range before decreasing this afternoon. Though this is a relatively small bump in wind with little new snow, we do have ample light snow available for transport – especially in the Turnagain Pass area. This is from Friday’s localized snow storm that deposited up to 18″ on Turnagain Pass.

The real concern, however, is how the wind may form slabs that can overload the weak faceted snow which sits underneath the recent storm snow. Friday’s storm snow has become very loose due to Saturday and Sunday’s clear and cold weather (see a couple more obsevations sent in yesterday HERE and HERE). This has decreased the slab properties that were present on Saturday and subsequently no new avalanche activity was seen on the Pass yesterday. Today’s winds however could change that by forming new wind slabs. Any fresh slabs formed have the potential to be quite sensitive to human triggers as they will be be sitting on weak snow.

For anyone getting out today, keep an eye out for areas where Friday’s snow is cohesive and especially where it is supportable to your weight. Watching for recent wind deposited snow, cracking or collapsing as well as quick hand pits are good ways to assess this.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Deep Persistent Slabs
    Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slabs
Deep Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a thick cohesive layer of hard snow (a slab), when the bond breaks between the slab and an underlying persistent weak layer deep in the snowpack. The most common persistent weak layers involved in deep, persistent slabs are depth hoar or facets surrounding a deeply buried crust. Deep Persistent Slabs are typically hard to trigger, are very destructive and dangerous due to the large mass of snow involved, and can persist for months once developed. They are often triggered from areas where the snow is shallow and weak, and are particularly difficult to forecast for and manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

At the upper most elevations, weak snow exists near the ground under the majority of the snowpack (4-6+’ deep).  This is responsible for the deep slab problem. There is a low likelihood of triggering a deep slab in comparison to the shallow persistent slab.  However, the possibility lingers for triggering a slab that can pull out snow to the ground. Avoiding likely trigger points, especially areas where slabs are thinner, will lower the likelihood of triggering a deep slab avalanche. 

This problem is not a concern below 3000ft where the previously water saturated layers have now frozen into a very strong and stable crust layer.

Weather
Mon, February 10th, 2014

Clear skies and ample sunshine greeted folks that were out yesterday. Winds were calm and though temperatures were in the 10F range, it felt quite warm. Valley bottoms remained cold and in the single digits.  

Overnight, clouds have moved in and a trace of snow has fallen with a possible 1-2 inches expected through the day. Winds have just starting to increase this morning and are forecast to be in the 25-30 mph range with stronger gusts from the East. Temperatures should increase as well to 20F at 1,000′ and the low teens on the ridgetops.  This change in weather is due to a low pressure center spinning in the Northern Gulf that is just strong enough to send a bit of moisture our way.

This system should exit this afternoon and a return to dry weather and mostly sunny skies are in store for Tuesday and Wednesday. For later in the week, we might start seeing more of a classic wintertime pattern with a low setting up over the Aleutians – which means possible snow in the forecast.

Sun effect?
Believe it or not the sun has been able to create a crust on southerly slopes. This was seen mainly in the mid and lower elevations (2,500′ ish).

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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 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
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
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South Fork Snow River Corridor
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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.