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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
Tue, April 1st, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, April 2nd, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains at LOW  at all elevations and on all aspects with our continued mild weather conditions. Cornice failure and dry loose snow sluffs on shady aspects remain the main issues for backcountry travelers.

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Tue, April 1st, 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

We end Marvelous March and begin Amazing April with the 16th day in a row of sunny and beautiful weather. There are light and variable winds on tap and coupled with 13 hours 24 minutes of sunshine, we can expect some surface warming on slopes with a Southerly tilt. Many of these slopes have large looming cornices that will be baking in the sun again today. We have not seen many cornice falls recently but due to their unpredictable nature, they are good to avoid regardless. Additionally, as with all mountain travel in the spring-time, being aware of what is above you is essential, especially when daytime warming loosens the snow and rocks up.

Below is a photo Graham took yesterday of a corniced ridgeline near Bear Valley/Portage area. Graham also noted what looked to be a ‘semi’ fresh avalanche in the Bear Valley area – thought to be triggered by ice fall. See more on that and his write-up HERE.

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

Though some may think it’s a fool’s errand to be looking for powder right now, the fact is shaded areas continue to sport good riding conditions. Each day under these clear skies the surface continues to facet and become looser. On many shady slopes there is between 2 and 6″ of ‘re-cycled powder’, so to speak. If the slope is steep enough however, triggering low volume sluffs in this loose snow is fairly easy – it seems the slope has be over 40 degrees.

Southerly slopes are heating up just enough to soften for a few hours in the late afternoon, but hit these at the wrong time and it’s survival travel – at best. We have not heard of, or seen, any wet sluffs on these aspects recently. Yet, it is always something to keep in mind if you find yourself on a steep sunny slope with several inches of wet and sloppy snow.

‘Re-cycled’ or ‘Re-crystallized’ powder on Northerly aspects:

Weather
Tue, April 1st, 2014

During the past 24-hours skies have been clear and temperatures have averaged in the mid-20’sF at the higher elevations. Winds have been light from the West and North in the 5mph range and are dying off this morning.

For today, it should feel quite warm out there with the increasing sunshine. Ridge top winds are expected to be light and variable – even on the highest peaks. Temperatures that have cooled to the low teens at the valley bottoms should climb to the low 30’sF during the day while the ridge tops will remain in the mid-20’sF.

For tomorrow, another carbon copy sunny day. Yet, for the weekend the large scale pattern is shifting slightly. The blocking high over us currently looks like it might migrate East and put Southcentral a bit more in the line of fire for some precipitation (at the very least, cloud cover…). Stay tuned.

March Recap:  In like a lamb, teased by a lion, then out like a lamb…

Well, March ended up being fairly uncomplicated weather wise. The Monthly weather chart says it all. After 9 days of clear and cold conditions Winter Part III arrived with a one week storm cycle that put down 5′ of heavy snow (5+” water). As one would expect, a healthy avalanche cycle ensued and then from March 17 to the 31st not a hint of precip was seen. There are many tan faces littering the mountains attesting to the last 15 days of bluebird weather!

Snowpack: As of April 1st we are at 52% of our median SWE (snow water equivalent).

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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
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Closed
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Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
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Seward District
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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.