After weeks of stormy weather, yesterday finally saw a true break in systems. Clear skies, calm winds and cool temperatures accompanied the many folks enjoying the excellent snow conditions around Turnagain Pass. With literally several hundred slope testers out there, the only avalanche activity seen and/or reported was several cornice falls and, believe it or not, one large ‘natural’ avalanche… (Many reports and photos were sent into us, check them out HERE!)
This avalanche was on the West face of Lipps ridge and released at 1pm yesterday. Skiers on the Cornbiscuit ridge reported seeing a powder cloud and snow in motion. At this point the trigger is unknown. There were skiers on the Lipps South face skin track; around the corner. There were no tracks leading into or out of the slide and no tracks near it on the ridge. We suspect this was a large wind slab triggered by a natural cornice fall. We have not seen any persistent weak layers that would lead us to believe this was remotely triggered by skiers on the South face. If anyone has further information on this slide please send us an observation or an email!
Photo of the Lipps avalanche. Many more photos can be seen HERE.
Cornice falls and wind slabs today?
With another clear sky day and light winds on tap, we are expecting very similar ‘mostly’ stable avalanche conditions. This means watching for lingering wind slabs in very steep rocky terrain and giving cornices a wide berth – see photo below. The sun is just starting to affect the snow and could help tip the balance for cornices on the verge of breaking. Keeping a look out for stiff hollow feeling snow and smooth wind pillows are good ways to suss out wind slabs on the steeper slopes.
**Although the snowpack is generally stable, the size and dangerous nature of the Lipps avalanche gives us pause to send out a green light today. Low danger incorporates small avalanches to be possible but not large ones. This ‘outlier’ avalanche is why keeping with good habits is ALWAYS important at times of good stability. These include:
– Exposing only one person at a time on a slope
– Grouping up in safe zones
– Having an escape route planned if the slope slides
– Communicating plans with your partners
Photos below: Left photo (by Adrian Beebee), skier track on a chunk of cornice that was triggered on Tincan – close call!! Right photo (Louis Sass), large natural cornice fall in upper Lyon creek.
We were expecting a glide release or two yesterday with the cooler temperatures and clearing skies but, no, we did not see any. It looks as though the glide cycle may be slowing down? Regardless, limiting/avoiding time under glide cracks remains prudent.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you are under a yawning glide crack if you can’t see the whole slope.
Sluff management! This will be one of those days that sluffs could be large, run quickly and catch you if you’re not looking.
Sluffs from yesterday:
Yesterday’s nice day consisted of clear skies, light and variable winds and temperatures in the upper teens to low 20’s F.
Overnight temperatures have warmed at the upper elevations and cooled at the lower. An inversion is in place this morning with ~25F on the ridgetops and ~15F at 1,000′. Skies remain clear and should stay that way for today. We can expect temperatures to warm slightly through the day with the winds turning Easterly and picking up to the 10-15mph range by sunset.
Monday, we are expecting a weak frontal band to move through from the East. A bump in Easterly winds, cloud cover and a chance for 1-2″ of snow is expected.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||23||0||0||95|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||19||0||0||27|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||24||0||0||72|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||23||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: 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.