Sustained moderate winds yesterday continued to strip ridges of available snow and load leeward slopes. Much of the loading occurred on north and east aspects as the bulk of the wind was blowing up Turnagain arm from the west. A hike up Sunburst yesterday showed evidence that these 1-3 day old wind slabs are increasing in strength and bonding with underlying layers. That being said, steep slopes (greater than 40 degrees) add further stress to this wind slab interface and should be avoided for another day while this problem continues to heal. Look to bypass steep leeward slopes and cross-loaded gullies that have a smooth and fat look, or if the surface feels stiff or sounds hollow seek out mellower, low consequence terrain.
It’ll be important to recognize where these wind slabs exist today as your obvious signs of instability (recent avalanches, cracks or whoomphing) may not be present.
Sustained westerly winds on Sunburst ridge yesterday acting to erode away this cornice. Note this is an atypical direction for winds in the Turnagain area.
As with all of your days in the mountains, safe travel protocol is the name of the game. Ski slopes one at a time and talk thru plans with your group before executing. No matter how benign or extreme a slope may be, it’s always good habit to think through a few questions: “What will I do if this slides? Where is my escape route? Where is my safe zone?”
Cold temperatures will promote a loosening of the snow surface and provide for potentially fast moving sluffs. If anticipated, these should be low enough in volume to not be much of a concern, unless travelling above a terrain trap such as a cliff or deep gully.
Temperatures began their free fall yesterday bottoming out at 0 degrees F on Sunburst ridge as a cold front pushed into our region from the northwest. Skies were mostly clear and winds were sustained in the 20’s, gusting up to the 40’s mph on Seattle ridge mostly from the west.
Today you can expect temperatures again in the single digits at ridge tops and winds subsiding to the teens, as flow direction changes to more northerly. Though cold ambient temperatures, the sun will be out in full force today for us all to work on our spring break goggle tans!
Temps look to stay cold going into the weekend with our next chance at a few snowflakes coming Friday as a low approaches the gulf coast.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||12||0||0||43|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||9||0||0||9|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||12||0||0||28|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||6||W||20||54|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|01/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs.||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer Forecaster|
|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|
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.