After the Holiday Storm Cycle pummeled the snowpack, initiated a widespread avalanche cycle and deposited over 10′ of snow in places, the snowpack has settled out and is now “generally” stable. This means triggering an avalanche is unlikely, with a few caveats:
1) Glide cracks and cornices should be avoided. More on these below.
2) Shallow fresh wind slabs and older lingering wind slabs are the most likely avalanche concern if you are headed to the “steep, gnarly and extreme” terrain around Turnagain Pass. As can be seen in the photos below, anytime there is snow in the mountains, there is always a chance for an avalanche in steep and complex terrain.
3) Watch your sluff on steep slopes.
Photos below show a shallow wind slab that was triggered by, what looks to be, a snowmachine sized block of cornice (4,000′, W aspect in Lynx drainage). This is a good example of steep and complex terrain that may harbor small avalanches but with big consequences if you get knocked off your feet.
Numerous glide cracks litter the mid-elevations around Turnagain Pass. These continue to slowly open and although not many have released into full blown glide avalanches recently, they are still VERY much worth avoiding. If your route must take you under these cracks, travel quickly as they are unpredictable beasts and can avalanche at anytime, day or night, cold temperatures or warm.
Please see these two observations sent in to us yesterday HERE and HERE. These are from folks that toured up and got a first-hand look at the devastation of a glide: “If you have any doubt about how powerful a glide crack avi can be check out the photos!” Quote by Ray Koleser. This particular glide avalanche occurred on the SW face of Lipps roughly one week ago (1/8-1/10).
Photos below taken by Ray Koleser of the Lipps glide avalanche. Looking up at the crown, recent snow has dusted over the bed surface and debris.
Looking down the slope at the debris, yellow line marks the toe of the debris.
Another look at the size of the debris field. This ran over a common area folks congregate to put their skins on.
Below is a time-lapse video taken by Ron Simenhois of a glide avalanche near Juneau. Images are at 5 min intervals and covers about 6 ½ hours in total. If you look closely, you can see the glide crack opening before the avalanche. Yup, these are nothing to mess with.
With mostly clear skies again today and a generally stable snowpack, don’t forget to give cornices an extra wide berth if you are headed for the upper elevations.
Valley fog was the topic of the day yesterday. It reached as high as 2,000′ in places – but it was sunny above. Ridgetop winds have been light and variable for 3 days now, with the past 24-hours being light out of the East.
Today, valley fog is expected again but could be a bit more patchy. Skies should remain mostly clear above the fog for the better part of the day with high clouds possible later in the day. Ridgetop winds are forecast to be light from the East then picking up to the 10-15mph range tonight.
For Saturday, a bump in Easterly winds and cloud cover is expected as a large low-pressure system spinning South of the Aleutians makes it way North.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||25||0||0||83|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||23||0||0||25|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||26||0||0||61|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||25||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|04/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wendy Wagner Forecaster|
|04/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Turnagain Pass, non-motorized side seen from Seattle Ridge||CNFAIC Staff Forecaster|
|04/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Schauer/ Rothman Forecaster|
|04/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs||A Schauer Forecaster|
|04/12/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Latosuo Forecaster|
|04/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: north sides||lance breeding|
|04/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Girdwood to Turnagain Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/05/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Resort bowl Seattle creek head wall||Clint Kyffin|
|04/04/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge||Andy Moderow|
|04/03/21||Turnagain||Observation: Repeat Offender – Seattle Ridge||Troy Tempel|
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.