|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
Lingering wind slabs formed during last Wednesday and Thursday’s storm, along with continued strong Easterly winds on Friday, will be the primary avalanche problem in the backcountry. These slabs are roughly 1-2′ thick and composed of hard/dense snow. They are confined to elevations above 3,000′ just off ridgelines and in other catchment zones such as cross-loaded gullies. With a dusting of 1-3″ of low density snow in the past day and a half, they are likely to be somewhat obscured. They are also likely to be quite stubborn and hard to trigger and will most likely take slope angles approaching 40 degrees or steeper to get them to pop out.
If you find yourself venturing into high elevation more extreme terrain, remember your safe travel techniques – mainly exposing one person at a time on a slope. These slabs are hard so pole tests may not tell you much. Also, other red flags such as shooting cracks and hollow feeling snow may not be present until it’s too late.
Photo below: Winter has returned, for the time being, above 2,500′ – a welcome sight!!
Although glide activity appears to be slowing down in the region, cracks are likely still opening and the possibility remains for these to avalanche. The most recent glide avalanche is suspected to be in the past 48 hours. This was in upper Lyon Creek on a West aspect (photo below, taken looking East from Tincan). Most of the activity we have seen has been in the 2,500-3,000’ elevation band and on all aspects. Glide avalanches are unpredictable and are best managed through avoidance, as they can release at anytime. If you are traveling along valley bottoms watch for cracks above and limit your exposure when passing below them.
Most recent suspected glide avalanche in the Turnagain Pass region below:
A welcome 2″ or so of new snow fell yesterday during the early morning hours above 1,500′, which was followed by gradually clearing skies and light Easterly winds. Overnight, we have seen an additional trace of new snow down to 1,000′ on Turnagain Pass. Ridgetop winds have remained light from the East while temperatures have stayed cool, mid 20’sF on the ridgelines and 32F at 1,000′.
Today, we can expect intermittent cloud cover and snow showers throughout the Eastern Turnagain Arm zone with the rain/snow line hovering just above sea level. Snow accumulations are expected to be small, around 1″. Ridgetop winds should be light and variable and temperatures look to stay in the mid 20’s F on Ridgetops and around 34F at 1,000′.
For Monday, we should see the cooler air, light variable winds and partly cloudy skies continue with little to no precipitation. Our next shot at precipitation looks to be Wednesday. Stay tuned.
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek