Thursday, November 12th UPDATE:
Current Snow and Avalanche Conditions:
Turnagain Pass: The third snowfall of the season hit Turnagain Pass last night (Wednesday) and added 4-5″ of snow at the mid-elevations. Our snowpack is slowly growing! The new snow was accompanied by strong Easterly ridgetop winds and for folks headed out, watch for areas these winds have blown the new snow into drifts and slabs. With such small snow amounts, any wind slab encountered will likely be relatively shallow (6-12″ thick) and near upper elevation exposed ridgelines. These should settle out rather quickly, but watching for unstable wind-packed snow on steep slopes should still be on our minds.
Over the past week Turnagain Pass has seen a stable snowpack with no known avalanches. Total snow cover is 1-2+’ and just barely covering rocks and even laying down some alders. The snowpack above treeline is variable in thickness and ‘snow quality’ due to recent winds.
Glide Avalanches: There are a multitude of glide cracks opening up around 1,500′ on Tincan and Eddies. Avoiding time under these is recommended as they are extremely unpredictable, many do not avalanche, but some do and you never know.
Travel note: If you have not been to the Pass yet, it’s possible to ski/board from the parking lots, can you believe it? A luxury after last year.
*Hatcher Pass: As is typical in the early season, Hatcher Pass has a deeper snowpack than Turnagain and many folks are heading North to recreate. Keep in mind dangerous avalanche conditions continue at Hatcher Pass PLEASE see hatcherpassavalanchecenter.org for more information. There have been over 15 human triggered avalanches in the past week – these avalanches are large, breaking near the ground and destructive to a person.
Photo: Tincan Glide crack
Snow cover on Tincan Common Bowl – this is BEFORE the 4-5″ of new snow.
FUTURE AVALANCHE OUTLOOK:
Weather for today (Thursday) through the weekend is expected to be clear and cold. Single digits cold. Winds will be from the North and are not expected to be strong enough to move the snow around. This could always change however so check the ridgetop weather stations before heading out! Namely Seattle Ridge and Sunburst.
Snow stability is expected to be good at treeline and below treeline. Above treeline, I’d watch for lingering wind slabs, especially in areas with cliffs or ‘high consequence’ terrain below, where even a small wind slab can knock you off your feet and somewhere you don’t want to go (similar to the close call on O’Malley Peak last week).
Thanks for reading and have a safe weekend!