|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
Wind Slabs: Over the last three days moderate Easterly winds and heavy snowfall have loaded leeward terrain features above 2000’. Today light winds and a trace of new snow is expected. Should visibility allow for travel into the upper elevations, be aware of lingering wind slabs in steep terrain. Expect slabs to be 1-2’ thick and watch for cracking in the new snow. Hand pits and jumping on small terrain features and test slopes can be good ways to see how well slabs are bonding.
Cornices: Cornices have been growing to enormous sizes and will be tender today. Steer clear and don’t put yourself directly on or under a cornice. They can break much further back along a ridge than expected and their extra large size has the potential to trigger a lingering wind slab below.
A Cornice that has formed along “CFR” ridge above Common Bowl on Tincan, estimated to be ~15′ tall. The biggest its been all season.
Warm temps, rain and wet snow have been adding weight and stress to glide cracks throughout Turnagain Pass. These unpredictable hazards cover many steep slopes between 1000’ to 2500’ and continue to release without warning. Look for the large upside down ‘brown frowns’ and avoid hanging out directly underneath glides. Several glide cracks have released in the last few days including a new one on Sharks Fin.
Seattle Ridge is covered in large glide cracks that span most of the East Face along Turnagain Pass.
Southwest face of Sharks Fin as seen from the Seward Hwy yesterday. Exact timing of this glide avalanche is unknown, but likely in the last two days.
Freezing overnight temperatures are helping the lower elevations form a light crust and water continues to drain from a saturated snowpack below 1500’. Today daytime temperatures may reach the mid 30’s and wet loose avalanches will be something to monitor. If the snow is wet and slushy avoid steep terrain where loose wet snow has the potential to gain momentum and entrain deeper into the snowpack.
*Isolated snow and rain showers are in the forecast for today, but should the sun find its way through the clouds, be on the look out for wet loose activity in the mid to upper elevations. I know… this seems a little premature, but since the surface snow is light and dry, it doesn’t take much solar exposure to affect new snow.
Yesterday temperatures cooled to 32F at Turnagain Pass and light snowfall was observed during the day. Visibility was mostly obscured with a few periods of broken skies. Winds were light from the Northeast and ridgetop winds averaged in the low teens (mph.)
Overnight temps remained just below freezing and no new precipitation was recorded. In Girdwood light rain stopped around midnight and winds remained light from the Northeast.
Today scattered rain and snow showers are expected. Temperatures could rise into the mid 30’s F with light rain to 1500.’ Winds will be light from the Northeast and sky cover could clear off enough to see patches of sun by late afternoon.
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Moderow / Clayton
|Observation: Turnagain (below the uptrack)
|Alaska Avalanche School Moto Level 2
|John Sykes Forecaster
|Observation: Tincan Backdoor, Center Ridge
|AAS Level 1 / R Sullivan
|Avalanche: Tincan Trees
|Schauer/ Moderow/ Stephenson Forecaster
|Schauer/ Moderow/ Clayton Forecaster