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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
Thu, March 5th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, March 6th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

Much of the terrain in the Turnagain Pass area has a LOW avalanche danger where triggering an avalanche will be unlikely. However, there are areas in the Alpine zones (above 2,500′) that continue to have a MODERATE  danger and triggering a slab avalanche 1-2′ thick is not out of the question. These areas are most likely to be found in the “steeps” – steep rocky terrain with unsupported slopes as well as steep gullies and rollovers. Avoiding lingering wind slabs in these areas will also hedge your bets.

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Thu, March 5th, 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

As most of us know, the mountains around Turnagain Pass are in much need of a refresher (snow to the road is yet another story). However, there is winter up high and Tuesday night we received a welcome 2-3″ of moist snow above 2,500′, which has improved riding conditions. In the big picture, it has been almost three weeks since our last significant precipitation event and avalanche cycle with the last of our avalanche activity ending 10 days ago. Since then, we have been monitoring a buried layer of weak faceted snow, weak snow surrounding sun crusts on Southerly aspects and wind slabs. All of these snowpack concerns are in the top 2′ or so of the pack and continue to show reactivity in pits in some areas but not all. What all this boils down to is, we are still concerned that someone could trigger a slab avalanche in the steep, more extreme, terrain above 2,500′.

Things to keep in mind today if visibility allows for travel in steep terrain:

1)  Safe travel protocol – one person at a time on a slope, watch your partners, have an escape route planned if the snow moves.

2)  No signs of instability are likely to be present, but that doesn’t mean the snowpack on the slope you are hitting is stable or the wind drift is locked into place.

 

Photos below are of Tincan yesterday in low light where 2-3″ of new damp snow covered old tracks and provided some fun carvey riding conditions!

   

Weather
Thu, March 5th, 2015

Overcast skies, mild temperatures and calm winds greeted backcountry travelers yesterday. The clouds just started to part at the end of the day as the low-pressure system that put down a few inches of new snow Tuesday moved out.

We should see a break from our warm temperatures after today as a cold front slides through Southcentral later tonight. Until then, partly cloudy skies and valley fog will remain through the day with temperatures in the upper 20’sF on the ridgetops and the upper 30’sF at 1,000′. Ridgetop winds will be 5-10mph from the East with a flurry or two that could be squeezed out of the clouds.

Beginning tomorrow, cold air slides in from the Northwest associated with a large-scale trough currently over the Bering. You can see this in the IR satellite image  – the cold front is just passing through Western AK this morning – exciting news.  Along with the colder air will be the chance for snow to sea level. This flow direction is not ideal for Turnagain Pass as opposed to Hatcher Pass, who could see a bit of snow.  Stay tuned on how this pattern change will develop for the weekend! And, if you are headed North  this weekend remember to check out  Hatcher Pass’s Saturday AM advisory.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 33   0   0   40  
Summit Lake (1400′) 34   0   0   7  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 35   0   0   24  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 26   E    5 18  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 28   n/a    10 17  
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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
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
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.