Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger is MODERATE below 3000′ where glide cracks continue to release naturally and without warning. Above the glide cracks, in the Alpine, a generally LOW avalanche danger exists. This is an unusual and tricky set-up because there are many places where glide cracks threaten a lot of mid elevation terrain and moving around these features is not recommended. Chose your routes wisely, avoid the runout zone of glides, and be aware of crowded slopes by practicing safe travel rituals.
For a good description of the North American Danger Scale check out this new video HERE.
*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don’t forget to check Summit Lake Summary.
Yesterday a very large glide avalanche released on Penguin Ridge between Girdwood and Bird and pieces of debris reached the summer bike path. Luckily this trail is CLOSED for winter use and is marked with signs. However there are other trails free of snow that are not closed, but do have avalanche terrain above. With the return of warm sunny days and no snow near sea level it is best to avoid trails with avalanche terrain above.
Several more glide avalanches were seen yesterday between Girdwood and Turnagain Pass. The most notable was on Penguin Ridge. This is the third large glide to release on Penguin this week, however yesterday’s was the largest and pieces of debris reached the bike path below.
Glide cracks cover all aspects within the mid elevation band (between 1000-3000’) and remain a significant threat to popular terrain. This avalanche problem is impossible to predict and not associated with human triggers. As long as glide cracks continue to open up, move and release, we will stress the importance of avoiding them, which is THE ONLY WAY TO MANAGE THIS AVALANCHE PROBLEM.
Penguin Ridge Glide avalanches: Lookers left first reported on Sunday morning, 3/13. Middle glide avalanche is from 3/11, and the one on the right is from 3/9.
View of Penquin Ridge from accross Turnagain Arm. Note the large glide crack still opening up near the furthest right glide avalanche.
Over the weekend slope testers (motorized and human powered) pushed into steep terrain with several small human triggered avalanches occurring Saturday. Yesterday Turnagain Pass was very crowded and no new activity was reported. As we move further away from Friday’s 12” storm this is a good indication that generally stable avalanche conditions exist in the alpine.
With sunny weather and spring break crowds it is extra important to be aware of other people in the area. Should you choose to enter into steeper terrain only expose one person at a time and regroup in safe zones. LOW DANGER DOES NOT MEAN NO DANGER, triggering one of the following avalanche problems is still possible today.
Loose snow: Don’t be surprised by loose snow sluffing on shaded aspects. Sluffing could be fast moving with the ability to entrain a significant amount of surface snow in big terrain. On solar aspects pay attention to how the sun is warming the surface and be aware of wet loose avalanches should the snow become wet and saturated.
Cornice fall: Very large cornice features loom over many ridgeline and have a tendency to break further back than expected. Give them lots of space, and limit time under them.
Windslabs – On shaded aspects in very steep terrain it is still possible to find an old isolated wind slab. This will be more likely in extreme terrain with rocks, cliffs and unsupported features.
Yesterday skies were mostly sunny and temperatures reached the mid 40’s F. Winds were light from the East, switching to a Westerly directly last night. Overnight temperature dropped back into the low 20’s F and no new precipitation has been recorded since Friday (3/11).
Today skies are expected to be partly sunny with light NW winds. Daytime temperatures could easily reach the high 30’s F to low 40’s F by early afternoon. This evening cloud cover may increase with a slight chance of snow showers.
Tomorrow light snow showers will move through the region, but not much accumulation is expected. Temperatures are expected to remain mild.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||33||0||0||137|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||26||0||0||42|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||32||0||0||109|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||28||SE||9||29|
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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|
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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.