|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.|
Glide avalanches continue to be the primary concern in the mid elevation band below 3000′. Many large glides have released this week leaving Turnagain Pass covered in dirty brown streaks. Yesterday two new glide avalanches were confirmed on Seattle Ridge and one new one on Pete’s South. The good news is glides can be avoided by simply not exposing yourself to the run-out zone of existing cracks. Unfortunately glide cracks do threaten popular terrain on both sides of the road. The Seattle Ridge snowmachine ‘uptrack’ being of most concern since it has a very large crack that extends into this zone. Since this is the only route to the back bowls of Seattle Creek, this proposes a challenging dilemma and should warrent a discussion within your group. The bottom line is, should you choose to go, limit your time in this zone, travel one at a time, and don’t high mark under this huge crack. If you were to be in the wrong place at the wrong time getting caught up in a glide avalanche will undoubtedly be unsurvivable.
This picture was taken on April 2, but still reflects similar conditions near the Seatte Ridge uptrack.
Although glide avalanche frequency has decreased since this past weekend, there is still a lot of potential for more glide avalanches on Seattle Ridge.
New glide release on Pete’s South (middle one is new.) Photo by Tim Glassett
The possibility of wet loose avalanche activity will increase with warming daytime temperatures. In the mid elevation zone below 2000’ it will be important to monitor the surface crust. Due to recent rain showers and cloud cover this zone hasn’t been getting a good “re-freeze” overnight. Yesterday by 3:30pm the surface crust had completely disappeared and the snow was becoming very punchy causing skis to sink in 8-10”. Should you experience this today, stay off of slopes steeper than 35 degrees and avoid terrain traps.
In the Alpine, an estimated 4-8” new snow has fallen in the last two days, and deeper amounts are more likely on the Northern side of Turnagain Pass. Unfortunately, we do not have reliable precipitation data for Turnagain Pass right now, so it will be important to pay attention to how much new snow is sitting on the stout surface crust below. Triggering a wet/damp “point release” will increase with daytime temps and solar exposure. This avalanche problem will be minor if new snow depths are shallow.
Yesterday moderate Easterly winds and variable snow showers were observed in Turnagain Pass with heavier precipitation observed on the Northern end of Turnagain Pass. Winds slabs up to 8-10” thick are possible on leeward terrain features in the alpine and could be tender on steeper slopes. Monitor snow depths, pay attention for shooting cracks and pillowed shape features in steep terrain.
Cornices: We are still waiting for the Alpine to warm up enough to start seeing a natural cornice fall cycle. We do know that cornices are close enough to failure that skiers or snowmachiners can influence a failure by travelling on a corniced ridge and the potential for a human-trigger is a very real concern. Remember these have a tendency to break much further back than one might expect.
Yesterday weather conditions were variable throughout the forecast zone. Continuous moderate rainfall was observed on the far Northern side of Turnagain Pass, North of Tincan. On the South side there was a mix of scattered rain/snow showers and intermittent periods of sun. Rain/snow line was near 1800′. Two inches of new snow was observed yesterday on Magnum mid day. Ridgetop winds were from the East average 15-25mph. Daytime temperatures reached 42F at Center Ridge Wx station (1800′) and overnight temperatures dipped into the low 30F’s for several hours.
Rain and snow showers should be anticipated again today, but with less precip, 1-2 € of snow in the Alpine. Rain/snow line will be around 1700′. Temperatures at 1000′ will be in the high 30F’s to low 40F’s. Ridgetop winds will be Light to Moderate from the East.
Tomorrow there’s talk of partly sunny skies before another low pressure moves into the area on Saturday, bringing another round of rain and snow showers.
** The precip data at Center Ridge hasn’t been alligning with field observations over the last week. Also Turngain Pass DOT weather station is currently not functioning.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||35||rain||**0.1||116|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||38||rain||0.1||35|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||34||rain||.29||102|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||28||SE||17||39|
|12/01/23||Avalanche: Sunburst||John Sykes Forecaster|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s trees||Anonymous|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – God’s Country||Graham Predeger Forecaster|
|11/30/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
|11/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Ridge||Schauer/ Stiassny Forecaster|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender||Anonymous|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Ben Sullender|
|11/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan trees||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/21/23||Observation: Spokane Creek||John Sykes Forecaster|