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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
Sun, March 30th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Mon, March 31st, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

There continues to be a  LOW avalanche danger at all elevations and on all aspects in the Eastern Turnagain Arm and Northern Kenai Mountains. Watch for cornice falls, especially during the heat of the day, and human triggered low volume loose snow avalanches on very steep slopes.  

As always, it is important to practice good travel habits; expose only one person at a time, use islands of safety when stopping in steep terrain, and communicate plans within your group effectively.

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Sun, March 30th, 2014
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
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
Low (1)
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
  • 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

With very stable and tranquil weather there has been little change in the avalanche conditions for the past couple weeks and we continue to be in a “copy and paste” regime. Weak layers that were buried with up to 5 feet of snow just over two weeks ago have since adjusted to the load. Currently, we are dealing with a few springtime concerns as can be seen in the video below.

 

 

Cornices:
Despite the low avalanche danger, there are good sized cornices that continue to “creep” (slow and continuous downhill movement/deformation of the snowcover) causing them to curl over a little more each day. This is also causing them to separate from the ground/ridge underneath creating “cornice crevasses” (which can be a hazard in itself). A cornice failure is – by far – the most dangerous avalanche problem in the backcountry currently. Cornice falls are very hard to predict but we do know they are more likely to calve or fall during the warm part of the day. With that said, always minimize your time under or near cornices by giving them a wide berth.

                        Photo is from the Magnum SW ridgeline with sections of the cornice falling off – full write up HERE.

                        

Loose snow avalanches:
Be on the lookout for unconsolidated surface snow to move when provoked by a snowmachine, skis or snowboard.  These can be dry snow sluffs on Northerly facing slopes or moist/wet snow sluffs on steep south slopes. Though these are likely to be low in volume, this issue does become more pronounced in high consequence terrain.

Snow surface conditions:
Despite the sunny weather, the temperatures have been cold enough that significant warming has yet to impact our area. This has resulted in aspects with a northerly tilt to have several inches of soft re-crystalized powder on the surface – this includes many West and East aspects. Additionally, much of the old hard wind affected snow is being ‘eaten’ away by the faceting process as well. Southerly aspects however are in a melt-freeze regime, with variable sun crusts that soften for a few hours during daytime heating and sunshine.

“Heads Up” conditions in steep terrain:
There are plenty of steep slopes with firm surfaces that require a healthy amount of careful and focused travel.  A fall in steep terrain could result in loss of control of a snowmachine or be difficult for skiers or snowboarders to arrest.  Pay attention to the snow surface and learn how to anticipate surface conditions by the look and texture of the snow before you are on it.

Weather
Sun, March 30th, 2014

Are we really going to finish up March with only one storm cycle? Check out the monthly graph HERE  (if it doesn’t load the first time just re-fresh the page). More monthly numbers coming up on Tuesday’s advisory, but it does look like the snowpack at Turnagain Pass is sitting just above 50% of normal.

Another brilliant day was had in the mountains yesterday. Sunny skies, a light Northwesterly breeze and temperatures reaching the upper 20’sF on the ridge tops. Overnight temperatures have dropped to the low teens in valley bottoms and near 20F at the upper elevations. The Northwest winds have averaged around 5mph and are rising slightly this morning.

Today – another brilliant day is on tap with sunny skies. The Northwesterly breeze will continue to be mostly light with some ridge tops seeing possilby 10-15mph averages. Temperatures look to reach the upper 20’sF on the ridge tops once again.

For the beginning of the week, we are looking at: yep – sunny skies, a light  Northwesterly breeze and temperatures reaching the upper 20’sF on the ridge tops. However…..we should see warmer air move in later/mid week along with a wind shift to the South and East as a low pressure currently in the Bering slowly moves East. As far as a much needed re-fresher of snow, that is still too far out to hazard a guess.

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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.