Yesterday was the first clear day after a quick hitting storm dropped over 2′ of snow on the North side of Turnagain Pass, lesser amounts were seen in Girdwood Valley and the South side of the Pass. Many folks were out enjoying the new snow and easing onto steeper slopes and into avalanche terrain. Despite the number of people out and about, we only had a report of one human triggered slab avalanche. This slide was triggered by a snowmachiner on the front side of Seattle Ridge (Easterly aspect ~2,200′, photos below). This slope is not especially steep, but it is on the North side of the Pass and in an area that typically sees larger snowfall amounts. More on the report HERE. Check out additional reports sent into us from Eddies, Tincan and Sunburst HERE.
If you are headed out today, remember we are still close enough to the storm that lingering wind slabs may remain sensitive to human triggers. Watch for areas with stiffer snow over softer snow and hollow feeling snow. Also look for patterns of wind loading on leeward and cross loaded slopes (35 degrees and steeper).
*Don’t forget your safe travel practices, especially considering there are very few ‘obvious signs of instability’ currently. As a reminder these signs are: recent avalanches, shooting cracks, whumphing and rapid changes in weather. Safe travel practices include: Watching your partners, having an escape route planned, grouping up in safe zones and carrying (and knowing how to use) your rescue gear in the event a person is buried.
The cooler temperatures are helping stabilize the slab avalanche potential by loosening the snow surface, but this will also contribute to larger loose snow avalanches (sluffs). Hence, keep an eye on your sluff.
Photos above are of a snowmachine triggered slab avalanche triggered yesterday. Rider was able to throttle out. (Thanks to Chad Winberg for sending in these photos).
Cornices have grown a fair bit from Saturday’s storm. As we enter a several day stretch of mostly clear weather and folks are traveling further into the backcountry, don’t forget to give these features a wide berth!
The photo below illustrates the cornice that forms at the head of Zero Bowl (Mama’s Bowl) on the backside of Seattle Ridge. This cornice, like many others, can grow larger than many greyhound buses lined up end to end. Notice the snowmachine tracks traveling along the ridge just shy of the cornice. It can often be hard to determine how far a cornice extends when approaching from the wind ward side.
Mostly sunny skies with valley fog covered the region yesterday. Winds have been light from a generally Westerly direction for the past 24-hours and temperatures continue to decrease under the clear skies.
Today, we should have mostly clear skies as we are sitting between storm systems. Cooler air continues to stream in from the West and there is a slight inversion this morning; temperatures are in the 5-10F range at the road elevation and ~15F on the ridgetops. Winds are expected to remain light and variable today.
For tomorrow, Tuesday, mostly clear skies are on tap with winds turning to the West. The winds should stay light but may pick up to the 10-15mph range. It looks as though we are in this cold and clear spell to around Christmas day.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||18||0||0||58|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||10||0||0||18|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||21||0||0||38|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||19||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
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.