Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
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 and there is a generally stable snowpack, the avalanche danger is LOW.
*As glide avalanches continue to release summer use trails with avalanche terrain above should be avoided. Byron trail in Portage Valley is not recommended and the Turnagain Arm Trail between Bird and Girdwood, remains CLOSED.
If you are headed to Arctic Man please stop by the large CNFAIC trailer for information regarding FREE rescue clinics and general avalanche information. We will also have a beacon park set up so you can practice your skills anytime, day or night. Click HERE for more information. The snowpack has been reported to be very unstable in the Hoodoos with many human triggered avalanches over the weekend. Please be on your guard and don’t forget your beacon, shovel and probe.
Yesterday the glide activity was decreased in comparison to what we saw over the weekend. However, there were still a few glide avalanches observed near Girdwood Valley. The unpredictability and the threat of these releasing in terrain while people are recreating is keeping them as the primary concern at Turnagain Pass and surrounding regions. It is important to stay away from existing cracks, think about avalanche runout zones and observe where new glide cracks are appearing.
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). There is no way to predict when a crack is going to release into a large full-depth avalanche.
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!
Looking across to Seattle Ridge from Taylor Creek drainage.
Seattle Ridge uptrack with glide crack hazard.
Other than the scary glide avalanche issue normal caution is advised in the backcountry. The snowpack is generally stable and there is a stout melt-freeze crust on the surface extending to at least 4000′. Yesterday this crust remained frozen throughout the day with minor softening below 2000′. For today, clouds may limit surface warming but there may also be windows of sunshine. Watch out for ‘slide for life’ potential in steep terrain, as the surface crust is very slippery.
Remember Low danger does not mean NO danger. Follow safe travel protocol and be on the lookout for changing conditions.
Here are a few other avalanche problems to keep in mind:
Wet loose avalanches: If there is enough rain and/or warming to disintegrate the crust at low elevations, wet loose avalanches may be possible in very steep terrain.
Wind Slabs: Yesterday shallow wind slabs were observed on leeward terrain along ridgelines in Alpine. There is not much snow available for transport but as we get a bit more precipitation these may become more pronounced. These shallows slabs are sitting on the slick crust and could surprise you in steep terrain.
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. The potential to trigger one from the ridge is a very real concern. We received a report of a snowmachine triggered cornice incident near Whittier on Sunday. Remember these can break further back than expected.
Yesterday was mostly cloudy with moderate easterly winds. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs @ 3000′ and the mid 30Fs to 40Fs @ 1000′.
There were light rain/snow showers overnight and temperatures in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs. Winds were gusty from the east.
Today is forecasted to partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of rain/snow showers throughout the day into the evening. Winds will be 10-20 mph with locally higher gusts and temperatures will be in mid 20Fs to mid 40Fs depending on elevation.
This variable showery weather pattern looks to persist for the next couple of days as a series of small low pressure systems rotate off of a ‘parent low’ in the Gulf. There is the potential for a break and clearing on Thursday.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||34||2?||0||119|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||35||0||0||37|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||35||1||.1||103|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||28||ESE||14||38|
|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|
Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email
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.