Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
There is a generally LOW avalanche danger throughout Turnagain Pass for our typical avalanche problems. The one exception continues to be glide avalanches in the mid-elevation and is why the danger is CONSIDERABLE between 1,000′ and 2,500′ in elevation. Cautious route finding and terrain evaluation are essential to avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.
*As glide avalanches continue to release, summer use trails with avalanche terrain above should be avoided. The Byron Glacier trail in Portage Valley is not recommended and the Turnagain Arm Trail between Bird and Girdwood, remains CLOSED.
The Chugach National Forest will be closing some riding areas to motorized use today due to snow melting out. Please see the table at the bottom of this page for a complete list. Snug Harbor, Summit Lake and Turnagain Pass (N. of Granite creek) will remain open.
Glide avalanches continue to be the primary concern in the mid elevations extending as high as 3000′. Many large glides have released this week leaving Turnagain Pass covered in dirty brown streaks. New glide avalanches were reported in both the Girdwood Valley, Seattle creek drainage and Seattle ridge overnight (see below), leaving us no doubt that this is still a very dangerous avalanche problem. Seattle ridge just above the Seward highway appears to be the epicenter of Glide activity, and still harbors large cracks that have yet to release. If travelling in the vicinity of glide cracks today, travel fast and limit your exposure time or better yet, avoid cracks and runout zones all together.
‘Repeat Offender’ slide path as seen from the DOT RWIS camera this morning. A large crack failed (and avalanched) overnight near or possibly covering the common snowmachine up-track. There is still a lot of well-travelled terrain threatened by glide cracks that have not avalanched yet.
Warming daytime temperatures and direct sun today will increase the likelihood of wet avalanches in the afternoon below 3,000′. It’ll be prudent to keep an eye on your boot penetration throughout the day. Stay off of steep slopes (greater than 35 degrees) where you are post holing up to your crotch. Boot penetration is an informal test, but it does give a good idea of just how deep the ‘rot’ goes. Yesterday afternoon, the surface was unsupportable up to at least 2,200’ and likely higher. Any wet loose avalanches triggered today are likely to be on the smaller scale but could prove troublesome if coupled with a terrain trap. Formation of fresh roller balls will be a good clue that the surface is losing strength and a good indicator of wet avalanche activity on steep slopes.
Roller balls forming late in the day often act as a precurser to wet avalanche activity.
Moderate easterly winds and intermittent snow showers over the last several days have built shallow wind slabs (12-18”) in the alpine. Given the firm melt-freeze crust deposited to ridgetop last week, these shallow wind slabs have potential to be touchy in steep, unsupported terrain.
Cornices: They continue to cling to ridges. Likely triggers today could take the form of skiers, snowmachiners or warming temperatures and direct sun. Stay well away from the edge of corniced ridges as these have a tendency to break much further back than you may expect.
Mostly clear skies graced the eastern Turnagain arm region yesterday with temperatures averaging 38 degrees at Center ridge (1,880′). Winds were light for most of the day and transitioned to outflow (WNW) by mid-morning. No new precipitation was recorded.
Today patchy morning fog along Turnagain arm and the Portage valley should give way to clearing skies. Ridgetop winds will be in the 10 – 20mph range from the North before picking up and transitioning to an Easterly this evening with the approach of our next weather disturbance overnight and through the weekend. Temps today are expected to be in the 35 -40 degree range at 1,000′. No new precipitation is expected today though it looks like a return to a showery pattern through the weekend.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||38||0||0||116|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||39||0||0||35|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||36||0||0||102|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||31||WNW||5||22|
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|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.