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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
Fri, February 21st, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, February 22nd, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline today.   Slabs up to 3 feet in depth could be triggered by skiers and snowmachiners on steep slopes.   The likelihood of triggering an avalanche has been on the decline over the last five days.   The consequences, however remain serious due to slab depths.

This low likelihood/high consequence scenario is a scary version of MODERATE hazard.   It will be possible to get onto steeper terrain without incident.   It will also be possible to trigger an avalanche in steep terrain.   The fact remains that there is a 1-3 foot thick slab sitting on a weak layer in many areas.   Being able to anticipate which slopes will avalanche and which slopes will hold together is very difficult at this time.

Sticking to terrain under 35 degrees will allow for a fun enjoyable day in the mountains today.

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Fri, February 21st, 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 layer of weak snow sitting between the January crust and the February snow has the potential to cause problems today.  While this layer has become less reactive over the last week, it is still not trustworthy.  The nature of a persistent weak layer is that it sticks around for a long time.  Unlike storm related instabilities, a layer like this does not heal quickly.  Rather, it lurks below the surface, waiting for the right trigger.  

Areas where you would be most likely to activate this weak layer today are on slopes greater than 35 degrees, steep rollovers, and previously wind loaded pockets.  Sunshine and excellent riding conditions have the potential to lure people onto bigger and steeper terrain.  Don’t let a lack of activity on lower angle slopes allow you to let your guard down.  It is much easier to manage this problem with conservative terrain choices than trying to outsmart this complex instability.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Dry Loose
    Dry Loose
Dry Loose
Dry Loose avalanches are the release of dry unconsolidated snow and typically occur within layers of soft snow near the surface of the snowpack. These avalanches start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-dry avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs.
More info at Avalanche.org

On steep sunlit aspects loose snow avalanches will be easy to trigger today.  Expect these to be relatively low volume.  Managing this problem requires awareness of snow moving around you and the ability to get out of its way.  Loose snow sluffs have the potential to knock over skiers and snowboarders (less of an issue for snowachiners).  This issue becomes more serious when terrain traps (e.g. trees, gullies, cliff bands) are below.

Weather
Fri, February 21st, 2014

In the past 24 hours no new precipitation has fallen.   Ridgetop winds have been light out of a variety of directions averaging 5mph with a max gust of 21mph.   Temperatures at 3,800′ have averaged 9 degrees F.

Today expect mostly clear skies in the morning with clouds developing throughout the day.   Temperatures will climb into the low 20s F at 1,000 feet. Ridgetop winds will be out of the Southeast at 15 mph.

A strengthening area of high pressure to the East and North of us is keeping several Low pressure systems at bay, limiting the chance for precipitation over the next several days.

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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
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Closed
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Closed
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Closed
Turnagain Pass
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Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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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.