|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.|
Yesterday was the fifth day in row that skiers and snowboarders have triggered a minimum of three avalanches per day on Turnagain Pass. Three avalanches were triggered on Sunburst yesterday and one on Tincan.
The video below is from an avalanche on Sunburst triggered remotely from the ridge. There was a group of four that were riding on the looker’s right slope of this avalanche. The first two rode that slope, each triggering a small avalanche (one of which can be seen on the right side). Just as the third person was about to descend, the larger avalanche released and caught on video by the two people below. Discussions with all groups involved concluded that the avalanche in the video was unintentionally triggered from the ridge by another group. More details HERE.
Photo below: Same avalanche as in the video from a different perspective.
Photo below is from Hippy Bowl on Tincan that also was reported to have been triggered remotely from the ridge.
If you have been reading the advisory lately, you’ll know this is all due to a layer of highly reactive buried surface hoar sitting 10-20″ below the surface (under the snow from last Thursday and Monday). Slabs have been relatively shallow and soft, yet debris has been running far. Few people have been getting caught, which is mainly because these have ‘mostly’ been releasing at peoples feet or remotely, meaning the avalanche occurs either next to you or below you.
Things to keep in mind for the sunny day forecast:
Is there any good news with this tender snowpack? So far slabs are soft and relatively shallow – not good news per se but better than hard and thick slabs. Another thing to consider is where you are riding – take Sunburst ridge for example: much of the popular West slopes of Sunburst have already avalanched and been filled in with Monday’s snow – folks are now riding these slopes without incident. Bump up a little further along the ridge and boom – there are many slopes, or portions of slopes, that have not slid and are lying in wait.
On the South end of Turnagain Pass a few glide avalanches have released. One of these was on the South face of Pete’s North. Additional cracks are opening on Sunburst and Tincan. With so much focus on the buried surface hoar issues – don’t forget to keep an eye out for glide cracks and limit time under these.
Yesterday greeted backcountry travelers with partly cloudy skies, light and variable winds and no precipitation. Overnight, winds have been light from the East and temperatures in the 20’s F.
Today, another nice day is on tap with mostly sunny skies and light Easterly winds. For Thanksgiving day, skies should remain mostly sunny but the winds are expected to bump up slightly and shift Northerly bringing in cooler temperatures.
Our next chance for snow looks to be Friday and into the weekend – stay tuned!
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||27||0||0||19|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||23||0||0||2|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||30||0||0||3.5|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||27||SE||13||29|
|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|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl||Schauer/ Cullen/ Jonas Forecaster|
|11/19/23||Other Regions||Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin||Jose Ramos-Leon|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||Andy Moderow|