Yesterday Turnagain Pass saw many ‘slope testers’ (skiers and riders) pushing into steeper terrain and no red flags (recent avalanches, whumphing or shooting cracks) have been reported in nearly a week. Since the Thanksgiving rain event ended over a week ago a wet snowpack has frozen leaving a stable stout crust below 2500’. In the Alpine snow depths vary from 1-5’ thick with a generally thinner snowpack on Northern and Eastern slopes. In areas where the snowpack is thinner a slab 1-3’ thick sits on top of pockets of weaker snow near the ground. Because we lack x-ray vision it is unclear how widespread this basal faceted snow is across any given slope. This poor structure has shown some propagation potential in test pits this week, making it difficult to ignore. Triggering such a problem is an outlier, yet is possible in thinner areas near rocks. Caution is warranted if planning to push into steep complex terrain above 3000′.
Snow depths in the higher elvations of Pastoral averaged between 3-5′ thick, but a poor structure can still be found. Click Here to view yesterday’s observation.
Calm winds this week have left 8” of low-density surface snow to settle out making skiing and riding conditions quite good. Small natural point release ‘sluffs’ were observed yesterday on steep slopes in the Alpine. This is a minor concern, not enough volume to bury a person, but has the potential to knock you off your feet.
The snow quality right now is arguably the best it’s been in over a year so no doubt the usual zones in Turnagain will be crowded. Keep other adjacent groups in mind as you are moving through the mountains today and maintain good backcountry etiquette. Wear and know how to use your rescue gear, expose one person at a time on a slope, discuss potential consequences if a slope does slide and don’t ski on top of other parties.
Northern aspect of Magnum ridge, where small natural point releases were observed yesterday.
Yesterday above 1000′ skies were clear, temperatures were around 20F and winds were calm. In the surrounding valleys a dense fog left behind a trace of new snow.
Today a similar pattern is expected. Temperatures should remain in the low 20F and gradually warmer in the Alpine as a result of a slight inversion. Ridgetop winds are expected to be light from the Northeast, with mostly clear skies.
The first hint of a shift in the weather is Tuesday for possible snow.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||20F||trace||0.05||24|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||15F||0||0||11|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||20F||trace||0.05||20|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||19F||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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: email@example.com
|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.