Almost a full week has passed now since any reports of major avalanche activity in the backcountry, and with people pushing into bigger terrain without incident yesterday this points toward a stabilizing snowpack.
We do know however that weak snow still exists below the March 10-14th storm cycle that produced a slab up to 5’ deep. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to upset this weak layer but if affected the resulting avalanche will be large and potentially un-survivable. Tracks on a slope do not correlate to stability when dealing with a deep slab avalanche problem. Shallow spots in a slab are likely areas to trigger an avalanche up to 5’ in depth today. These may be difficult to recognize but some clues to a shallow, tapering slab include areas near rock or tree outcroppings or directly adjacent to wind-stripped terrain.
This photo from the Crested Butte Avalanche Center is a good illustration of how a slab tapers. Likely trigger spot for this avalanche would be near the lower right corner of the photo where the slab is thin and a human is more likely to affect the weak layer.
If your tolerance for risk is taking you into bigger, steeper terrain today it is fundamental that you and your group exercise safe backcountry travel protocol. This includes communicating travel plans, escape routes and islands of safety. Expose only one person at a time on a slope and re-group in safe areas well away from run-out zones.
Strong solar radiation late in the day continues to push cornices toward their natural breaking point. Add a skier or snowmachiner on a ridge in close proximity to one of these backcountry bombs and cornice failure will be possible. Your best bet to mitigate this problem today and everyday is to give cornices a very wide berth when travelling on ridges and limit your exposure when travelling beneath.
The first day of Spring yesterday did not disappoint with sunny skies, temperatures reaching into the mid-30’s at 1,000′ and light to moderate winds out of the east.
Today we can expect partly cloudy skies by this afternoon, winds out of the east in the 10-25mph range and temperatures again warming into the mid to high 30’s by the heat of the day. Looking into the weekend an upper level ridge will persist over the mainland, keeping southcentral Alaska mostly sunny and completely dry at least through early next week.
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.