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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
Thu, March 20th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, March 21st, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Weather continues to be calm and sunny.  The snowpack has gotten more stable since the last storm.  However, the possibility still exists to trigger deep slab avalanches up to 5 feet deep in terrain over 35 degrees.  

A  MODERATE  danger can be found in areas above treeline in steep terrain.  The likelihood of triggering a deep slab pocket is low, but the consequences to your health would be significant.

Below treeline the danger is  LOW.  

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Thu, March 20th, 2014
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • 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

It has been 5 days since we have had reports of major avalanche activity.  This is a good sign, as time goes on people are getting on increasingly agressive slopes and the snowpack is trending towards stable.  

Anyone riding in big, steep terrain must understand the possibility of a large avalanche still exists.  The slab/weak layer combination that caused the big avalanches last weekend is still present.  Both the slab and weak layer have gained strength over time, making it more difficult to trigger this problem.  But remember, this isn’t our typical snow year.  The snowpack is shallow, and multiple crust layers have led to persistent weaknesses.  Click here for a writeup of the big avalanche in Seattle creek last weekend.

Steep terrain should be approached with a conservative mindset.  Ask yourself, “What would happen if this slope avalanched?”  

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Cornice
    Cornice
Cornice
Cornice Fall is the release of an overhanging mass of snow that forms as the wind moves snow over a sharp terrain feature, such as a ridge, and deposits snow on the downwind (leeward) side. Cornices range in size from small wind drifts of soft snow to large overhangs of hard snow that are 30 feet (10 meters) or taller. They can break off the terrain suddenly and pull back onto the ridge top and catch people by surprise even on the flat ground above the slope. Even small cornices can have enough mass to be destructive and deadly. Cornice Fall can entrain loose surface snow or trigger slab avalanches.
More info at Avalanche.org

Cornices are as big as we’ve seen them this year.  The photo is from last week of a section that dropped spontaneously, triggering a slab on the slope below.  

Check out this video for a good perspective of a close call with a cornice.

 

Weather
Thu, March 20th, 2014

Perfect March weather would be accurate for the last few days.  Sunny skies, minimal wind, and comfortable temperatures.  

Today will bring more of the same.  Some clouds will roll in by the afternoon.  Wind will be calm, and temperatures rising with the sun exposure.  

For the long-term, we don’t see any significant storms from now through the weekend.  A ridge across mainland Alaska is keeping the low pressure at bay.  

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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
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.