Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger is MODERATE today due to above freezing temperatures, rain and an active glide avalanche cycle. Human triggered wet loose avalanches are possible in steep mid-elevation terrain (1000′-2500′). Triggering a fresh wind slab or cornice fall is possible in the Alpine. Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.
Summer use trails with avalanche terrain above should be avoided due to the threat of natural avalanche activity from above. Byron trail in Portage Valley is not recommended and the Turnagain Arm Trail between Bird and Girdwood remains CLOSED for the winter.
*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don’t forget to check Summit Lake Summary.
CNFAIC is going to Arctic Man for the fifth year in a row! We are excited be there all week and to offer two FREE companion rescue workshops. Click HERE for more information. We hope to see you there! Stop by the blue trailer and practice in the beacon park! Don’t forget your beacon, shovel and probe!
Record high temperatures were seen around the state yesterday and advisory area saw the warmest temperatures of the season to date.
Sunburst, 3800′: 41F
Seattle Ridge, 2400′: 44F
Center Ridge, 1880′: 57F
Summit Lake 1400′: 57F
Alyeska mid mountain, 1700′: 48F
Clear skies on Tuesday night that allowed for a surface freeze and winds throughout the day helped keep the natural wet loose activity to minimum despite the warm air temperatures. The building daytime cloud cover across the region also added to the variability of surface warming. In sunny areas there was obvious free water in the snowpack as the day heated up. Last night cloudy skies and rain falling (Center Ridge Snotel recorded an inch of water) will keep the mid-elevation snowpack prime for human triggered wet loose activity on steep slopes. Watch for ski and snowmachine penetration and get off slopes if you are sinking in. Remember once wet snow gets moving it often entrains more snow quickly and can be hard to escape. Yesterday there was a report of skier triggered wet loose avalanche in the Summit area on Butch mountain on a west aspect in the afternoon.
Turnagain Pass from the Center Ridge parking lot. Note the surface reflecting in the sun and the large glide crack on the N face of Cornbiscuit.
No glide avalanches were reported yesterday on the warmest day we have had this season. What???……. April Fools! Of course there were glide avalanches reported and observed yesterday. A number of new glide avalanches were observed on Seattle Ridge, in Summit Lake and the Girdwood Valley. We are now trying to track areas to see if glides are releasing in spots without pre-existing cracks. If this is the case steering clear of steep terrain in the mid-elevation band around (not just below) glide cracks may also be advised. Visibility may be limited today and make it harder to see where you are in terrain. We can’t stress this message enough: Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks. Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks. Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.
Glide avalanche on Seattle Ridge that released sometime between 9 am and 1 pm.
I am going to include Heather’s photo from Wednesday again. I think the glide avalanche hazard on the Seattle Ridge up-track is particularly dangerous.
Cornices remain extremely large and perched along many ridgelines. We haven’t seen an active day of widespread cornice failure yet this season. This just means they continue to grow and creep closer to failure. New snow and wind as well as the warming temperatures this week could act as a catalysts for cornices to fall. These features deserve extra space and can break farther back than expected. Keep a wide berth both on ridges and when moving below corniced terrain.
Wind slabs: An inch of water was recorded at the Center Ridge Snotel overnight. This could translate to 5-10″ of snow above 3000′ in the Alpine at Turnagain Pass. This combined with sustained easterly winds may have formed tender wind slabs on along ridgelines. Watch for cracking in the snow and pay attention to how well the snow is bonding to the surfaces below.
Yesterday was a mixture of sun and clouds across the advisory area. The region saw very warm temperatures with highs in the 50Fs @ 1000′ and in the 40Fs @ 3000′. Winds blew 20-30 mph from the east with gusts into the 50s. Skies clouded up overnight and there were rain showers with the precipitation favoring Turnagain Pass.
Today will be mostly cloudy with continued rain showers and easterly winds 20-35 mph. Temperatures will be in the mid 30Fs to mid 40Fs.
This overall pattern of showers and cloudy skies will persist through the weekend. There is slightly cooler air moving over the forecast area but temperatures will still be above normal.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||45||0||1.1||121|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||43||0||0||41|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||42||0||.1||107|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||41||SE||26||54|
|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: email@example.com
|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.