With sustained winds averaging in the mid-50’s mph on Sunday (and gusts to 101mph on Sunburst) 2-4′ thick wind slabs are possible on steep leeward slopes, particularly above treeline; though it is worth recognizing that strong winds such as these have a tendency to load slopes far below ridgelines, creating a mid-slope avalanche problem. There was significant cross-loading as well. Identifiying where the winds deposited the snow is crucial. Look for pillowed snow, listen for hollow sounds and pay attention to stiff snow under your skis, snowboards or snowmachines. Watch for shooting cracks and remember even a small pocket of wind slab in steep terrain can have high consequences. Wind slabs are notorious for letting you travel out onto them and then breaking above you. Evalute carefully before commiting to steep terrain from above or below.
Sustained winds, relatively warm temps and moist snow have continued to grow large cornices. These have the potential to fall naturally or be triggered by the weight of a person or machine and can be very dangerous. Travel under or on them should be avoided. They have the tendency to break farther back from the ridge than expected and can trigger an avalanche on the slope below by adding a lot of weight quickly. As you approach ridgelines and the entrances to backcountry bowls make sure you aren’t accidently traveling on overhanging snow.
In some parts of the advisory area now sitting under 5-7′ of settled storm snow is a layer of old faceted snow on top of the Thanksgiving Rain Crust. This still needs to be a consideration as you travel into the backcountry today. This is a low probability, very high consequence set-up. It is important to use safe travel practices and do not overload slopes with multiple skiers, boarders or snowmachines. Limiting your exposure time spent underneath large paths such as those that effect areas like Johnson Pass and the Lynx Creek drainage. In addition we have limited snowpack information from Johnson Pass and Lynx Creek but we know that the snowpack is shallower. The surface hoar that developed prior to Christmas may be buried and preserved especially near the creek. Watch for signs of instability: recent avalanches, shooting cracks, collapsing and whumpfing. Pay attention to snow depth and trigger points. Deep slabs are most easily triggered from shallow spots where the weight of the traveler can more easily effect the weak layer.
NOTE: In areas such as Summit Lake, the snowpack is shallower and harbors more weak layers under the recent storm snow. See Wendy’s observation and write-up from a snowboarder-triggered avalanche (Saturday) that failed on a buried surface hoar layer that ran on a mellow (28-30 degree) slope.
The stormy weather moved out yesterday, skies cleared and winds died down. The winds were Easterly in the morning 15-25 mph, gusting in the 50’s and then shifted to the west and have been light overnight. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs at ridgeline and 30Fs at 1000′. There was a cooling trend overnight.
Today will be mostly clear and sunny as we have a break inbetween storms. Temperatures will be in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs. Winds will be light and Westerly. The clouds will build again this evening and there is chance of snow showers overnight and tomorrow. The next Low is forecasted to move into the Gulf and effect the forecast area into the weekend.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||30||0||0||85|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||27||0||0||27|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||32||0||0||32|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||25||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|12/06/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Billy Finley|
|12/04/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||A.Johnston-Bloom/ W.Wagner/ R.Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/03/19||Turnagain||Observation: Hippy Bowl||Nick Langowski|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan, All elevations||Eric Roberts|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
|11/30/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Treeline Plateau/ Common Bowl/ Ridge||Eric Roberts|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #2||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #1||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/27/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/25/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunnyside||Graham Predeger 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|
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