Today marks the 18th day since the last significant precipitation has fallen in the Eastern Turnagain Arm area. Since then, we have had a few inches of snow fall here and there. Otherwise, cold and clear weather has been stabilizing the snowpack and loosening the snow surface.
The main issue avalanche-wise are the interesting wind patterns during the past week of high pressure. Very localized winds from all directions have moved the loose surface snow around enough to form wind slabs in scattered zones. These are not found everywhere, but should be on our radar nonetheless. One of these was found and triggered by a party two days ago in the Seattle Creek drainage. Of note for this slab was its lower elevation location (2,400′). Often these types of slabs are relegated to the higher terrain. That said, surface instabilities to watch out for:
Shallow wind slabs have been found scattered about in exposed areas, including mid-elevation terrain. Keep an eye out for changing surface texture and areas where the snow is smooth, stiff and may have a hollow feel. These areas should be relatively easy to identify since much of the surface is soft. Committing rocky and steep terrain will be the most concerning place to find a slab; as once you identify it, avoiding it could prove challenging.
Loose Snow Avalanches:
Cool temperatures and clear skies continue to loosen and facet the snow surface. Sluffs on steep slopes, > 40 degrees, should be expected, though remain relatively low volume and manageable.
Weather – or lack thereof, rather – could be called an “additional concern” for many of us, eh? Maybe not in the avalanche sense, but in the psychological one. Below are a couple charts illustrating the season’s snowpack to date. These data are taken from the Turnagain Pass Snotel station on Center Ridge at 1880‘. Roughly, we have 1/3 the snowpack we normally do this time of year. At the lower elevations, 1,000’ and below, anyone that has been out will know it is mush less than this.
Caution: Look and digest graphs below at your own risk!
A bit more of a write-up and graphs can be found HERE.
Yesterday was marked by sunshine, light and variable ridgetop winds and temperatures in the mid 20’s F. Overnight, winds have shifted to the Northwest and climbed into the 5-10mph range.
Today, we should see sunny skies once again with temperatures in the mid 20’s F at all elevations except for valley bottoms where colder air is pooling. Winds are forecast to remain in the 5-10mph range from the Northwest.
As for the future? Snow? This remains out of the foreseeable future. The very persistent ridge of high pressure over us will continue its strong hold. Sunny skies are in store for over a week from now. The outflow winds associated with the high pressure will the wild card for this week and into the weekend.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||24||0||0||32|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||11||0||0||7|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||24||0||0||20|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||24||S||6||16|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wagner / Schauer|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.