Over the last week the alarms have sounded due to a widespread layer of buried surface hoar sitting below 1-2 feet of snow. Observers continue to find this layer on all aspects and elevations throughout Turnagain Pass. Up until a few days ago human triggered and remote triggered avalanches were happening daily with a couple dozen avalanches reported over a 7-day period. These avalanches have been small to medium in size; just large enough to bury a person or seriously injure you in a ride. With time this layer has been adjusting to its load and becoming less reactive and harder to trigger. Last nights snowfall, about 4 inches, arrived after winds calmed down and was just enough to cover up recent avalanche activity. Don’t forget buried surface hoar is a persistent weak layer and human triggered avalanche are still possible. This layer has not gone away and should be a major factor in slope choice today. Larger and/or steeper, more wind-loaded slopes that haven’t been ridden still have the potential to avalanche and could fracture once well onto the slope. Be aware of the consequences below you and keep an eye out for recent wind loading, shooting cracks and whumphing sounds. Practice safe travel techniques like regrouping in safe zones and only expose one person at a time in avalanche terrain. This can be challanging to practice in crowded areas, thus be extra aware of other groups who may be traveling above or below you.
A view of avalanche activity on the popular Sunburst SW face. Photo taken Novemeber 24th before new snow from last night covered it up.
Yesterday numerous shooting cracks were observed near Taylor Pass and Sunburst Weather Station, where moderate winds were activily loading Western aspects. Triggering a small wind slab up to 6” thick is possible in steep leeward terrain near ridgetops. Be aware of supportable and hollow sounding snow hidden below the four inches of new snow that fell overnight. Avoid steep slopes if you experience shooting cracks.
Several 10-20′ shooting cracks were observed yesterday near Taylor Pass
Several glide avalanches have released this week including one observed yesterday morning on the West face of Pyramid. Several glide cracks have been noted in popular terrain like Tincan’s Common bowl and the SW face of Sunburst. If you see glide cracks give these a wide berth, minimize time spent underneath, and remember these are totally unpredictable. They are not triggered by humans and are the entire snowpack releasing.
Yesterday morning about an inch of new snow dusted Turnagain Pass and a trace was noted in Girdwood. Skies were overcast becoming obscured in the afternoon. Easterly ridgetop winds were moderate (15-25mph) becoming light by the evening. Temperatures were on the rise all day, teens F to mid 20F’s.
Overnight 4 inches of new snow fell in Turnagain Pass and only an inch in Girdwood. Temperatures remained just below freezing and winds were light from the Northeast.
There is a chance for a few more inches of snow today. Ridgetop winds are expected to remain light and variable and temperatures should be in the mid 20F’s.
Cooler temperatures and clear skies are expected tomorrow evening through Wednesday with another chance for snow near the end of the week.
***Sunburst Weather Station has not recording weather data since Nov.25th. We are currently assessing and hope to get it repaired soon.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||24||4||.4||20|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||23||trace||.1||2|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||26||1||.11||4|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||21||SE/variable||9||26|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst and Tincan||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan 2900′ SW aspect below Hippy Bowl.||Kris Marshall|
|01/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs.||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
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|
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.