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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, February 22nd, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, February 23rd, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

We have a couple reports of human triggered avalanches from the last 2 days.  The faceted weak layer is suspected for these avalanches (read on in the primary concern).  

We got a report from an avalanche that occurred on Thursday in Seattle creek in Warmup bowl – the report is of a deep avalanche triggered by a snowmachiner that caught and carried the rider a significant distance to the bottom of the bowl.  Crown face was up to 5 feet deep, involving part of the cornice, and was 300 feet wide.  There was an effective airbag deployment, and nobody was reported buried or injured.  

The second report is from yesterday at the Cornbiscuit/Magnum Headwall.  One skier was carried about 50 feet in a slide with a crown face up to 2 feet deep.  See this observation for a first-hand description.

With these kinds of reports we know that steep terrain that harbors the facets can produce avalanches.  The danger rating is at  MODERATE for this specific problem.  

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Sat, February 22nd, 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

The most common snowpack problem continues to be a weak layer of facets on top of the hard melt/freeze crust from January.  We can’t find the facets everywhere, but they are common at and above treeline.  All the February snow (51 inches of storm accumulation at Turnagain Pass) now sits on this weak layer.  Snow pit tests are showing moderate to hard force required to collapse the facet layer.  In many places that failure will propagate across an extended column (this video shows an example from last weekend).

Last weekend we had many avalanches reported on this weak layer.  Check the observations page for photos and descriptions of those slides.

People are starting to explore farther back into the mountains.  Steeper slopes are getting tested, which has resulted in the two known human triggered avalanches in the last 2 days.  Avoiding or minimizing exposure to steep terrain is the safest bet with the current problem.  We still have plenty of untracked snow on slopes less than 35 degrees.  If you do find yourself in the steeps, careful terrain management by exposing only one person at a time and avoiding terrain traps will be essential.  

 

Weather
Sat, February 22nd, 2014

It hasn’t snowed in several days now, since the 18th.  Wind has also stayed minimal since that last snowfall.

Today’s expected weather is mostly cloudy with a chance of snow (less than 1 inch).  Wind may pick up, 20-35mph from the Southeast and increase more tonight.

Sunny weather is forecasted for Sunday and Monday.  Overall we are staying in a calm weather pattern.  Check the weather page for more detailed information.  

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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.