Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
Below 2500′ the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE today due to a continued pattern of warm temperatures and an active glide avalanche cycle. Natural wet loose avalanches in steep terrain are possible and human triggered wet loose avalanches are likely. Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks and travel on or under cornices.
In the Alpine the avalanche danger is MODERATE. Human triggered wind slabs are possible on steep leeward slopes and cornices are also a concern for this elevation band along ridgelines.
***Travel is not recommended in avalanche terrain on the West (motorized side of Turnagain Pass).
If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don’t forget to check Summit Lake Summary.
New glide activity was observed yesterday and continues to be the primary concern due the destructive and unpredictable nature of the releases. Travel underneath existing glide cracks is a total gamble. The zone above and around the popular motorized up-track on Seattle Ridge continues to have our hackles up. This well traveled slope is hanging in the balance (pictured below). Although much of the snowpack has already avalanched along Seattle Ridge, there is still a lot of snow that could release. There was no overnight freeze in the 1000-2500′ elevation band and there is the possibility of rain today. These weather factors may increase glide activity.
Due to the dangerous and destructive power of even a small glide avalanche, we are recommending that people do not travel in avalanche terrain (including runout zones) on the motorized side of Turnagain Pass (West Side). Glide avalanche hazard also exists on the non-motorized slide of Turnagain Pass. Travel underneath existing glide cracks is not recommended. In addition, be on the lookout for new glide cracks forming.
An example of new glide avalanche activity (from the past 24-hours). photo: Tim Glasset
Looking towards the uptrack and noting the amount of snow that still could slide.
Yesterday the temperatures rose above freezing in the Alpine and the sun was shining. The new snow got progressively wetter throughout the day. There was some minor natural roller ball activity and some natural wet loose activity on steep slopes. Low elevations were very punchy and saturated in the afternoon. There was no overnight freeze from 1000′- 2500′. This combined with the possibility of rain will up the likelihood and potential for natural and human triggered wet loose avalanches today. Any periods of sunshine will also be a factor. Remember wet loose avalanches can be hard to escape once initiated and particularly hazardous if they push you into a terrain trap.
Natural wet loose avalanche on Seattle Ridge that occurred in the afternoon yesterday.
Yesterday it was evident that the wind had redistributed the new snow and there were deeper pockets of snow along leeward ridgelines. We have limited information from the Alpine but traveling to 3200′ showed a structure that could be triggered on steep wind loaded slopes. Wind effected storm snow sits on top of a stout melt-freeze crust. Watch for cracking while traveling and recognize that this set-up could be sensitive on unsupported features.
Cornices: We have been wondering when we will see a natural cornice fall cycle. So far they been “hanging in there” but yesterday we observed two cornice falls and the avalanches that were triggered by them in Portage Valley. These were both in terrain at or below 2500′. This is similar to the corniced ridgeline elevations in the Seattle Creek drainage. Continued warm temperatures may increase the likelihood that these will fail. As always, avoid travel on or under cornices at any elevation and remember that they may break farther back than expected.
Yesterday was mostly sunny with some high clouds. Sky cover trended to overcast by the evening. Winds were light and variable. Temperatures were warm, averaging in the high 40Fs at 1000′ and the high 30Fs at 3000′. Center Ridge Snotel hit 50F at 4 pm and Sunburst Wx station saw 34F at 3 pm.
Today will be partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. The temperatures will remain warm and above freezing above 3000′. Wind will be light and easterly.
The trend for the week is forecasted to be scattered showers and above average temperatures as the general pattern stays the same.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||41||0||0||114|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||40||0||0||31|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||38||0||0||99|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||34||variable||3||18|
|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.