It was another spring-like day in the backcountry yesterday with bluebird skies and an opportunity for replenishing vitamin D stores. Today, cloud cover has moved back in but there could be some breaks here and there. We have 1-2″ of snow on tap with moderate Easterly winds. This is not enough snow to be a concern on its own but the reactive wind slabs from yesterday, as well as a bump in wind today, will keep wind slab avalanches on the docket. Loose snow sluffs and cornices will also remain on the docket.
Wind slabs that we are seeing and hearing about in the Turnagain Pass zone have been shallow 6-10″, scattered around ridgelines, and not packing too much punch. However, in the Girdwood Valley and North where more snow fell, slabs are reported to be thicker.
If you are headed out today, watch for:
1) Stiff snow on the surface of the snowpack
2) Winds actively loading slopes (there may be just enough wind in the forecast to form fresh slabs at upper elevations)
3) Cracking in the snow around you
4) Surface texture and hints that slopes are wind loaded
Cornices!: Give these a wide berth, wider than you think.
Sluffs: Watch your sluff. These are entraining several inches of surface snow and could get quite large in large terrain.
Photo below: Wind slab avalanche triggered by a skier yesterday. This avalanche was between the Magnum and Cornbiscuit ridgelines in an area called Superbowl. Skier was not caught and the slab itself was quite small, 6-10″ thick, yet did propagate down the ridge and entrain a bit of sluff as it ran.
As long as glide cracks keep moving and breaking up our snowpack we will keep mentioning them. The picture below shows an oblique view of the large cracks on Cornbiscuit’s SW face. Folks have been wisely staying out from under them and, in this particular case, putting the skin track on the NW ridge.
We have not seen a glide avalanche in the Turnagain Pass zone for several days, however we do see these cracks continue to move and open. Limiting time under these, if your route must take you there, continues to be wise.
Photo: Oblique view of the glide cracks on Cornbiscuit’s SW face.
Sunny skies greeted the many backcountry users along Turnagain pass yesterday. Winds were light from the Northeast on the highest peaks and it was downright warm with temperatures reaching 30F at the upper elevations and 45F along the road.
Overnight, winds have bumped up slightly (10-15mph from the East) and cloud cover has moved in. There is a very weak disturbance moving over through the day and we could squeak out 1-2″ of snow above 1,000′ today, with rain below, and another 1-2″ tonight. Cloud cover could also break apart is areas, providing for better visibility. Winds are slated to remain moderate in the 15-20mph range from the East along the ridgelines. Temperatures should be warm again, mid 30’s at 1,000′ and the mid 20’s on the ridgetops.
For Tuesday, another band of clouds and wind are on tap as a low pressure system in the Gulf moves North and begins to impact our region.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||35||0||0||137|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||35||0||0||44|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||32||0||0||108|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||30||–||–||–|
|12/08/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|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|
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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