Yesterday Easterly ridgetop winds were transporting snow and loading Western aspects in the afternoon and overnight. With about 6-8” of snow available for transport, fresh wind slabs, up to 1ft thick could be tender today. Expect wind slabs to be extra touchy in rocky areas where the snowpack is thin and weak. This wind stiffened snow could also be adding stress to the Nov.16 layer of buried surface hoar where a slab up to 2’ thick could be enough to bury someone. Pillow-shaped snow on steep convexities and cross-loaded gullies will have more potential for this higher consequence avalanche. Today’s winds are expected to decrease this morning, but should you see activily loading snow or shooting cracks – these are obvious clues the snow is unstable.
Old ski tracks filled in quickly yesterday afternoon on a Western aspect on Tincan. Top of the ridge in this picture is 3600′.
If you have been reading our advisories over the last few weeks then you are probably well aware of the Nov.16th layer of buried surface hoar. The most recent avalanche activity on this layer was reported on Saturday, Dec. 3rd on Cornbiscuit, where a group intentionally triggered a cornice on a steep Northern chute. They observed a slab 8-10” thick pull out and identified the buried surface hoar as the culprit. There are a number of complexities associated with this avalanche problem including the knowing the full extent of where this layer remains in the snowpack. Numerous small avalanches have occurred on this layer and numerous small snow storms keep covering up the evidence. Most of this activity has been on the popular Southwest slopes of Sunburst and Tincan and little is known about places less traveled. Don’t forget this layer is on all aspects and continues to show propagation potential in test pits above 2000’. The other important thing to note is the slab character is becoming denser with recent wind events, which means the slab could break above you once well onto the slope.
Be sure to use safe travel protocols if venturing into avalanche terrain today:
Check out the results of a test pit at 3300′ on a North aspect of Tincan from yesterday, Dec.5.
Yesterdays clear skies became overcast in the afternoon and light flurries were observed between Girdwood and Turnagain Pass. Temperatures increased throughout the day, -8F in AM to 22F by evening, along the road (1000′). Easterly ridgetop winds increased in the afternoon, 15-30mph, along ridgetops. Overnight about 2 inches of snow was recorded in Turnagain Pass and trace in Girdwood.
Today expect scattered snow showers with an accumulation of 1-4′ inches. Temperatures will likely remain in the mid to low 20F’s and winds are expected to be light from the East.
Dry arctic air continues to keep most of Alaska under a cold air mass including parts of Southcentral Alaska. With the exception of several low pressure systems tracking through the Gulf of Alaska bringing scattered snow showers to the area, temperatures are expected to remain cold throughout the week.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||17||2||.2||22|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||14||1||.2||5|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||19||trace||.02||10|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||15||ESE||16||27|
|01/22/20||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Adrian Beebee|
|01/22/20||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/22/20||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|01/22/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Allen Dahl|
|01/21/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Eric Roberts|
|01/20/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||H. Thamm B. Edwards|
|01/20/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||Andy Moderow|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: south facing aspect on 3800ft bump just northeast of 4940||Anonymous|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit & Magnum||Allen Dahl|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
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.