Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sat, January 24th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Sun, January 25th, 2015 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW in the Alpine and Treeline elevations today.   Triggering avalanches are unlikely.  

At and below treeline €œearly € season conditions exist.   Meager snow coverage between 1,000-2,500′ will make for challenging travel.   Rocks, stumps, and slick surfaces are legitimate hazards to manage in the mid elevations today.

Sat, January 24th, 2015
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice 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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

It has been over a week since the last significant loading event.  In that time temperatures have been mild and winds have been mostly light.  This has allowed instabilities that did exist in the upper portions of the snowpack to diminish.  Because of this it will be very difficult to trigger an avalanche today.

Keep in mind that LOW danger does not mean NO danger.  It is impossible to eliminate all risk if you are spending time in avalanche terrain in the winter.  Outlier issues today could come in the form of:

Wind Slabs
Moderate winds yesterday morning created very shallow pockets of wind slab above 2,500’.  These slabs are in the 4-6” range, low in volume and could grow slightly in areas receiving snow today.  If venturing into very steep upper elevation terrain be on the lookout for these small pockets as they could push you around or knock you off your feet.  

Glide Avalanches
We continue to track and monitor glide cracks throughout the forecast area.  Cracks exist on all aspects and are generally found between 2,000’ and 3,000’.  The solution to this problem is simple: stay away from glide cracks.  They are unpredictable and could release at any time.

Eddie’s has many glide cracks.  Many on the South side have released.  Note the large crack on the headwall which has not released.  Photo: Fitzgerald

Eddie's Glides

If you are traveling in steep terrain today it is important to follow good travel protocol:
-One at a time on suspect slopes
-Use islands of safety for spotting and regrouping
-Communicate decisions and plans effectively
-Be aware of other groups above and below

Don’t get lazy in times of LOW danger.  Developing good habits will serve you well when the danger is higher than it is today.

Sat, January 24th, 2015

Over the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up a trace to 2 € of new snow.   Winds have been light with ridgetops averaging in the 5-10 mph range out of a variety of directions.   Temperatures have been on a steady downward trend with ridgetop stations reporting in the teens F this morning.

Today expect lingering snow showers to give way to clearing skies and a drop in temps.   Some areas could receive an additional 2 € of snow.   Winds will be light out of the North in the 5 mph range.

A ridge of high pressure will begin building over the area later today and persist into the early part of next week.   Cold air will remain in place for the region with lows below zero F and highs in the single digits to teens F.

*Seattle ridge wind data is 6 am-11pm.   The wind sensor is rimed.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 25 1 .1 31
Summit Lake (1400′) 24 1 .1 8
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 23 1 .1 21

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 24 var 7 35
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 21 SW* 11* 26*
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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.