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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
Mon, February 9th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, February 10th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is generally LOW on Turnagain Pass.   Isolated pockets of slab up to 8 € in depth may be encountered on steep leeward slopes in the Alpine.   It is in these areas where the danger is MODERATE today.

In the Girdwood Valley the danger is MODERATE in the Alpine, where recently formed wind slabs 6-8″ (and up to 1′) in depth rest on a layer of weak snow.   Avoidance of steep terrain harboring stiff wind loaded snow will be important today.

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Mon, February 9th, 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
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

The last 3 weeks of clear and cool weather has helped to create very weak snow on the surface throughout the forecast area.  A lack of significant loading from precipitation or wind has kept avalanche activity to a minimum.  An exception to this was found over the weekend in the Girdwood Valley, where strong Northerly winds on Friday loaded fresh slabs onto this weak snow surface.  Turnagain Pass was shielded by the Chugach Range from this outflow wind event.

What this leaves us with is a tale of two different snowpacks.  

On Turnagain Pass, the core of the forecast area, you will find very shallow pockets of fresh slab 3-4” deep that have built as a result of light snowfall and moderate winds over the past 24 hours.    Wind will help to build slabs as thick as 8” by the end of the day on leeward slopes.  These pockets could become deeper if additional snowfall exceeds the forecasted 2-3” snow for today.

In the Girdwood Valley you can expect to encounter stiff wind slabs in the mid to upper elevations that are several days old.  These slabs are hard and sitting on very weak snow.  These slabs will grow slightly today with average depth in the 6-8″ range.  It is important to be able to recognize wind loaded features.  Wind loaded slopes will feel stiff and sound hollow.  Shooting cracks radiating from your skis, board or feet are an obvious indicator of unstable snow.

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

In areas not affected by wind, expect sluffing to occur easily in steep terrain.  New low density snow combined with the older weak snow will be easy to trigger and low in volume.  If visibility allows travel into upper elevation steep terrain today, watch any sluff that you trigger and steer away from it.

Weather
Mon, February 9th, 2015

A frontal boundary pushing up from the south has helped to bring about a change over the past 24 hours.   Light amounts of snow have accumulated, with 2 € of new snow on Turnagain Pass.   Temperatures have seen a pronounced upswing, with ridgetop stations reading in the teens to 20 F range this morning.   Winds out of the East have also picked up with Sunburst reporting averages in the teens to 20 mph overnight.

Today expect showery conditions.   Snowfall amounts will be light, in the 2 € to 3 € range.   Ridgetop winds will be out of the East at 10 to 15 mph.   Temperatures at 1,000′ will be in the mid to high 20s F.

An unsettled pattern will help to bring chances for snow through the coming week.   Temperatures will fluctuate and gradually rise as we move through the work week.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 11 2 .1 33
Summit Lake (1400′) 7 trace trace 7
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 10 2.3 .12 24.5

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 13 E 12 35
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 12 var 6 18
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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
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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.