Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Fri, March 18th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Sat, March 19th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is  MODERATE  in the mid elevation band between 1000′-3000′ where glide cracks continue to release naturally and without warning. In the Alpine, a generally  LOW  avalanche danger exists, but due to the glide problem below terrain choices remain limited. Chose your routes wisely to avoid glide cracks, and be on the lookout for changing conditions that could raise the danger in the alpine.  

*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don’t forget to check  Summit Lake Summary, and click  HERE  for a recent observation of glide activity in that area.  

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Fri, March 18th, 2016
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice 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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

And it continues…. More glide avalanches were reported again yesterday. One of the large glide cracks on Cornbiscuit released sometime in the past two days. Penguin Ridge has even more brown streaks than the day before. New glide cracks were observed on Raggedtop and Max’s. Many of the exisiting cracks on Turnagain Pass have opened significantly in the past few days. I feel like a broken record but the message remains the same and caution recreating around the glides is crucial.

Glide cracks cover all aspects within the mid elevation band (between 1000-3000’) and remain a significant threat to popular terrain. 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. Remember these are totally unpredictable, release naturally and could be deadly if you were to get caught-up in that amount of snow. It is the entire winter snowpack releasing at the ground. 

Glide crack above Black Creek, Summit Lake. This is in a series of cracks that threatens the egress out of the Manitoba north facing terrain. It is a good example of glide hazard that can be easily avoided with simple route finding. 

Penguin Ridge is in a very active glide avalanche cycle this week. Keep in mind the debris can run into snow free areas and threaten some summer trails, especially around Girdwood Valley and Portage.


Avalanche Problem 2
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

Yesterday was another pleasant day in the mountains. There were no reported human triggered avalanches or signs of instability beyond the glide avalanche activity. The few inches of new snow that fell Tuesday night blew around a little but did not form any notable wind slabs. There is preciptation forecasted for this evening and we may see a flake or two today. Pay attention to blowing snow along ridgetops and be aware of how the sun is heating up the snow on solar aspects. If you see any obvious signs of instability like shooting cracks, large roller balls or recent avalanches be prepared to change your plans. Remember LOW danger doesn’t mean NO danger, any one of these avalanche problems listed below are still possible in very steep terrain. Practice safe travel protocol and as we move into the weekend and spring break comes to an end, be mindful of other groups recreating in the same area. You may still run into leprechauns shredding the gnar today…

Wind slabs: Be on the lookout for pillows of newly drifted snow and active wind loading – it is possible that steep terrain could harbor tender isolated wind slabs.

Loose snow: Sluffs are fast moving and will be proportional to the slope you are on today.  Big terrain may yield big sluffs, particularly on cooler, drier northerly aspects.  On slopes with a southern tilt, wet loose avalanches could be initiated later in the day if we get windows of sunshine.  The biggest threat with both of these is the potential to get knocked off your feet in steep, committing terrain. 

Cornice fall: Very large cornice features loom over many ridgelines and have a tendency to break further back than expected. Give them lots of space, and limit exposure time under them. 

Corniced ridgeline above Butcher Creek, Summit Lake.


Fri, March 18th, 2016

Yesterday was partly cloudy to mostly sunny depending on what part of the advisory area you visited. The winds were light and easterly. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs. There were a few flurries in the morning.  

Today will be partly sunny to mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers. 0-2″ of snow possible. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20Fs and winds will be light and variable.  

The chance of precipitation increases with 3-6″ of snow forecasted overnight. The pattern may not actually favor the advisory area. Stay tuned to see how the next round of storm systems impacts the region.  

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 27    0 0   132  
Summit Lake (1400′) 28  0 0 43  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 26  0 0 107  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 23    NE 10   19  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 24 ESE   8   19  
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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.