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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Mon, April 4th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, April 5th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is  CONSIDERABLE  in the Turnagain pass and surrounding areas due to large destructive glide avalanches. These are most pronounced at 3,000′ and below. Many popular slopes have dark brown glide cracks that could release at anytime and travel under these is discouraged. Cautious route-finding and careful terrain evaluation are essential to  avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.

In the Alpine, where a stout surface crust has formed, the avalanche danger is  LOW. If the sun comes out and melts this crust, wet loose avalanches are possible later in the day.

*As glide avalanches continue to release summer use trails with avalanche terrain above should be avoided. Byron trail in Portage Valley is not a recommended and the Turnagain Arm Trail between Bird and Girdwood, remains CLOSED.

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Mon, April 4th, 2016
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
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

Glide avalanches remain our primary concern in the Turnagain Pass and surrounding regions. Although the snowpack is stable itself, how it is sticking to the sides of the mountins is another thing. On all aspects at elevations below 3,000′ the snowpack, as a whole, continues to ooze down the slopes and create cracks (despite having a hard crust on the surface). Every now and again one of these cracks will release into a full-depth avalanche. There is no way to predict when a crack is going to release. What we do know is the frequency of glide avalanches is on the rise. Since Friday (4/1) five large glide avalanches occurred on Seattle Ridge and several others between Girdwood and Summit Lake. Read the reports from over the weekend HERE.

The reason this is so alarming is that new glide cracks are appearing daily and many threaten popular terrain. The Seattle Ridge uptrack is one of our biggest concerns because a large crack now puts this popular route in the line of fire. If you were to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you would not survive a glide avalanche. High marking or setting a skin track under a glide crack is not recommended!

Heather showed the photos below yesterday but they are too good not to post again today as today’s concerns are the same. Please ‘thread the needle’ carefully as you move through these mid-elevations.

 

 

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

Other than the scary glide avalanche issue we have a normal caution in the backcountry. The snowpack is stable and sports a solid crust on the surface. Sunshine yesterday softened the surface enough for bone fide springtime corn skiing by the afternoon. On slopes the sun is not warming, there is ‘slide for life’ potential as the surface crust is very slippery. For today, high clouds may limit surface warming – but then again, the sun has a way of poking out in places. 

Cornices? We are still waiting for the Alpine to warm up enough to start seeing natural cornice falls. These giant features are still holding on and looming.

Weather
Mon, April 4th, 2016

Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted many backcountry travelers yesterday. Ridgetop winds were light from the East and downright calm on some ridgelines. Temperatures reached the mid 40’s F in the parking lots and the upper 20’s F on the ridgetops.  

For today we are expecting some high clouds fill in as a frontal band associated with a low pressure just South of the Aleutians heads our way. Winds are expected to increase to the 10-20mph range from the East on the ridgetops and a trace of snow is possible above 1,000′ with a chance for a raindrop or two below 1,000′.  

Tonight into Tuesday we should see the low pressure system move through with light precipitation (rain/snow line ~1,000′) and accumulation in the 1-3″ range. Stay tuned.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 34   0   0   118  
Summit Lake (1400′) 32   0   0   37  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 34   0   0   104  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 25   NE   9   22  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 28   SE   8   24  
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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.