Turnagain Pass RSS

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Sat, March 14th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Sun, March 15th, 2015 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW at the Alpine and Treeline elevations.   Isolated pockets of wind slabs and low to medium volume loose snow avalanches could be triggered in very steep terrain.

Low snow cover and icy conditions on the approaches require careful and creative travel today.   Yes, it’s mid March but early season conditions exist between 1,000-2,000′.

Potential frostbite conditions will continue today.   See the Mountain Weather section for more details.

Special Announcements

Avalanche Rescue Workshop at Hatcher Pass is tomorrow!! Join CNFAIC forecasters, HPAC forecasters and Alaska Avalanche School this Sunday from 11am-12:30pm for a FREE  informal rescue workshop  before hitting the hills at Hatcher Pass!!  Click HERE for more info.   Parking will be at the Gold Mint trailhead-please carpool as parking spaces will fill up fast.


The Friends of the Chugach Avalanche Center is an official Pick. Click. Give. organization. When you apply for your PFD please consider supporting your public avalanche center.   Every little bit helps and allows us to provide the best possible service.   Thank you to all of our donors past, present and future!

Sat, March 14th, 2015
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

It has been close to a week since high winds and snow created unstable conditions.  In that time temperatures have plummeted and the snowpack has adjusted in areas that saw significant loading.  With that in mind, there are still two issues to be aware of today:

Wind slabs
Isolated pockets of stiff wind slab up to 10” thick exist in many areas.  For the most part it is very difficult to trigger one of these pockets.  In terrain over 40 degrees be on the lookout for these pockets and minimize your exposure by moving one at a time when encountering this snowpack/terrain combo.

Loose Snow Sluffing
Skier and rider triggered sluffing will be possible in the few areas that were not affected by recent winds.  On steep sustained slopes over 40 degrees expect sluffs to be fast moving and have enough volume to knock you over.  Be aware of your sluff and move away from it before it gains volume.

As always, practicing effective terrain management techniques will be important in managing these minor issues as well as help to reinforce good habits for times when the snowpack is less stable.
-Expose one person at a time on suspect slopes
-Identify and utilize islands of safety for spotting and re grouping
-Recognize and identify escape options when assessing your route
-Communicate decisions and route options within your group
-Be aware of other groups above and below

Sat, March 14th, 2015

Temperatures over the past 24 hours have remained frigid, with ridgetops in the negative digits and just above 0 F at 1,000′.   Winds were light out of the Northwest.   Skies were mostly clear and no precipitation fell.

Today will be more of the same with temps climbing slightly onto the positive side of 0 F along ridgetops.   Winds will increase slightly as well out of the Northwest at 10-15 mph.   Remember it only takes a little wind to increase the potential for frostbite.
A shift in the pattern will take place as we move through the weekend.   Clouds and warmer temps will move in ahead of a low moving across the Alaska peninsula tonight.   Snow will begin tomorrow and last into the early part of next week.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 2 0 0 43
Summit Lake (1400′) 1 0 0 9
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 3 0 0 26

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) -9 WNW 6 16
Seattle Ridge (2400′) -5 n/a 10 31
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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.