Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Thu, November 12th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Fri, November 13th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

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.  


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!

Special Announcements


  • Thursday, Nov 19th: Ski Film Night  – Fade to Winter  – Get your stoke on while supporting local avalanche education and forecasting!!
  • More events, including our free awareness courses and Fireside Chats, are listed on our calendar page.

We will be issuing intermittent updates until Thanksgiving week. Advisories with danger ratings will begin around Thanksgiving.

*Thank you to everyone who has sumbitted snow/avalanche reports the past couple weeks! See them HERE and keep ’em coming!

Thu, November 12th, 2015
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
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.
Thu, November 12th, 2015

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)        
Summit Lake (1400′)        
Alyeska Mid (1700′)        

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)        
Seattle Ridge (2400′)        
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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.