Winds yesterday out of the South and West loaded slopes that don’t typically get loaded. Yesterday my partner and I watched this loading as it happened. Some areas were sheltered enough by surrounding terrain which prevented this from occurring. What this means is that there are now 1-2 day old wind slabs up to a foot in depth on a variety of aspects. On Turnagain Pass steep upper elevation North and East facing terrain is suspect. In the Girdwood Valley one large natural avalanche released over the weekend as a result of recent winds on a Southeast aspect. Winds will continue generally out of the Northwest today in the 20 mph range, helping to slightly increase the size and sensitivity of slabs.
Cardinal directions aside, it is more important to be able to recognize wind loaded slopes before you are on them. Snow that looks pillowy, feels stiff or sounds hollow should be approached with caution in steep terrain. Shooting cracks and collapsing are sure signs that the snow is unstable. Probing with a ski pole, hand pits, and feeling with your skis or board will allow you to assess the snow below your feet. Avoidance of terrain over 35 degrees with recent wind loading will be important today.
West winds loading East aspects along Seattle Ridge March 8, 2015
Areas sheltered from the winds will be holding 3-8” of low density snow. On sustained slopes over 40 degrees, expect human triggered sluffing to occur. These sluffs should be low to medium volume and large enough to knock a person over. This problem becomes more pronounced when traveling above terrain traps such as gullies, cliff bands or trees.
Clear, cold and windy sums up the weather over the past 24 hours. Cold air moved in behind the system that left new snow throughout the region. Winds yesterday were strong and blowing out of unusual directions (see video). Clouds moved in late in the day and left a skiff of new snow.
Today expect similar conditions. Ridgetop temperatures will be in the single digits F. Winds will be out of the Northwest at 15-20mph. Thin clouds and light flurries this morning will give way to clearing skies by the afternoon.
Clear skies and cool temps are on tap for the first half of the week as high pressure gradually sets up over Southcentral Alaska. Winds should diminish after today.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||17||0||0||44|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||17||0||0||9|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||19||0||0||28|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||12||W||19||53|
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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: email@example.com
|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.