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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, January 6th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, January 7th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The general avalanche danger is LOW in many locations above 2,500′.   The possibility still exists for humans to trigger avalanches 1-3′ deep on very steep slopes and in areas with a shallow snowpack.   In these areas within the Alpine the avalanche danger is MODERATE today.

The danger at treeline is LOW where avalanches are unlikely.

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Tue, January 6th, 2015
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
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
No Rating (0)
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

We have moved into a time period where buried weak layers have become very difficult to trigger.  Time and settling of the snowpack has allowed layers of buried surface hoar and facets (1-3 feet deep) to adjust and become less reactive.

The makeup, or structure of the snowpack is such that should an avalanche occur there is still potential for entire slopes to release.  Testing of these layers over the past few weeks has shown this potential.  

Slabs that built up on top of these layers have become very strong.  These slabs can withstand a lot of weight and force.  This is another contributing factor to the low likelihood of triggering an avalanche.

Areas where you could trigger an avalanche today include slopes over 40 degrees, convexities and slopes with a shallow snowpack.  The Girdwood Valley and Summit Lake areas have, in general thinner snowpacks than Turnagain Pass.  Thin spots can still be found throughout the forecast area and are worth avoiding.  Given the current hardness of slabs it is important to keep in mind that slabs can break above you and be very difficult to ride or ski off.

If venturing onto steep terrain practice good travel habits:
Expose only one person at a time
Utilize islands of safety for spotting and re-grouping
Identify escape routes in the event of a slab releasing
Communicate route decisions and plans within your group effectively
Be aware of groups above and below you and avoid exposing those groups to avalanche hazard

Weather
Tue, January 6th, 2015

Yesterday was another day of clear and calm conditions.   No new precipitation fell.   Winds were light coming out of the Eastern half of the compass.   Temperatures were on the cold side, with ridgetops in the teens-20’s F and some valley locations remaining in the single digits F under an inversion.

Today will be more of the same.   Temperatures at ridegtops will be in the 20s F and some valleys will remain in the single digits.   Winds will be light out of the East at 5-10mph.

The ridge of high pressure that is currently parked over much of mainland Alaska looks to begin breaking down by Wednesday night.   Clouds, warming temps and precipitation will move in as we near the weekend.

*Sunburst data is 3pm-6am due to temporary station malfunction

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 21 0 0 33
Summit Lake (1400′) 3 0 0 6
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 21 0 0 25

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 22 ESE 4 11
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 19 E 9 20
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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
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Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
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Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
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Closed
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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.