After five days of warm stormy weather deposited several feet of good ol’ Chugach Toothpaste at the upper elevations, we should see a break in cloud cover today. If this is the case, travel to the high elevations will be possible and with long days, long tours – winter is not over yet for some! We saw very little natural avalanche activity through this storm cycle. With the ‘sticky’ nature of the snow along with a lack of known persistent weak layers, the new snow is showing signs of stabilizing quickly. The human triggered avalanche activity that did occur was within the storm snow and relatively small.
All that said, it is springtime and that time of year where sunshine and daytime warming can be the main player for de-stabilizing the snowpack. Today’s concerns:
WET LOOSE AVALANCHES:
Steep slopes with a Southerly tilt, or lower elevations, in areas where the sun shines will have wet or damp loose snow avalanche potential. Expect these to occur naturally as well as be human triggered. Keep in mind, a wet or damp sluff can entrain a significant amount of snow in steep sustained terrain.
DRY LOOSE AVALANCHES:
Dry snow exists above 2,500′ and dry sluffs should be expected on shady Northerly slopes as well as Southerlies that have not yet been affected by the sun.
DRY SLAB AVALANCHES?:
All signs point to good bonding between the storm snow and the old underlying surfaces from last week. The one exception is upper elevation Northerly slopes. These areas may harbor faceted snow under several feet of storm snow and allow for the possibility of triggering a large slab avalanche. If you are headed to high elevation shady zones, above 3,500′ generally speaking, this is something to keep in mind and watch for.
Cornices deserve a lot of respect right now. They have grown substantially during the past week and though some of these have fallen on their own, many are looming. Warm temperatures and solar gain can increase the likelihood for failure. Minimizing time spend underneath them as well as giving them a wide berth on ridgelines is extremely important.
Photo below: Natural cornice failure on the West Face of Pyramid – likely occurring Sunday 3/29. Note the storm slab avalanche most likely triggered by the falling cornice.
It was another springtime day in the backcountry yesterday with temperatures warming at 2,000′ to the upper 30’s F. Cloud cover broke just enough for some visibility, yet it was in and out before clearing up in the evening. Ridgetop winds were in the 5-10mph range from the East before decreasing and switching to the North overnight.
Today instability showers will be over our area as we are in a break between storms. We may see up to 2″ of snow and light rain below 1,000′ in some areas and sunshine in others. Ridgetop winds will remain light from the North around 5-10mph and temperatures mild, upper 30’s F at 1,000′ and mid 20’s at 4,000′.
Wednesday night and into Thursday we will see one more weak low-pressure system move through before high pressure builds for the weekend. It could be a nice weekend for a supertour.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||33||0||0||59|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||32||0||0||10|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||34||trace||0.02||36|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||28||n/a||7||23|
|04/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wendy Wagner Forecaster|
|04/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Turnagain Pass, non-motorized side seen from Seattle Ridge||CNFAIC Staff Forecaster|
|04/16/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Lance breeding|
|04/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Schauer/ Rothman Forecaster|
|04/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs||A Schauer Forecaster|
|04/12/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Latosuo Forecaster|
|04/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: north sides||lance breeding|
|04/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Girdwood to Turnagain Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/05/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Resort bowl Seattle creek head wall||Clint Kyffin|
|04/04/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge||Andy Moderow|
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.