An exciting day was had in the backcountry yesterday. Both for weather and avalanches. It was a ‘rapid loading’ event as heavy snowfall from 6am till 5pm loaded slopes with medium density snow. Human triggered avalanches were numerous, yet we have not heard of anyone being caught up in these. From what we know, these slides were in “small terrain” which equates to smaller and more manageable avalanches. See all the reports sent in last night HERE – a big thanks to these folks for writing in!!
Yesterday’s snowfall totals:
Turnagain Pass: 6-8″
Girdwood Valley: 5-7″
Summit Lake: 4-10″
The snowpack is showing its hand and it’s not a good one. Weak faceted snow sits under a slab anywhere from 8-20+” thick. The slab is relatively soft and composed of yesterday’s new as well as the 4-8″ that fell during the end of last week. Strong winds have redistributed the snow above treeline and slabs will vary in depth and stiffness. Things to keep in mind today:
If skies clear enough for travel outside of the trees, another thing to keep in mind:
Photo: Crown of easily triggered 8″ slab avalanche that sympathetically triggered three more small slabs on the other side of the gully. If you look closely you can see one in the background. More on that in video below. This is the definition of a ‘touchy’ snowpack.
Photo: Soft slab avalanche into a terrain trap in the Tincan Trees (left side of photo). Small terrain – small avalanche. Thank you to Kakiko Ramos-Leon for the photo.
Photo: Remote triggered shallow slab avalanche on a rollover in the Eddies area, Andy Moderow.
Hopefully by this point you are convinced that once the visibility improves, very conservative travel is warranted in the backcountry. If you get out, please send us your photos and information – we will be monitoring the pack daily but your reports are invaluable!
Expect cornices to be sensitive and easy to break off. They also are likely to trigger a slab avalanche below. If you choose to walk a ridgeline today, give these a wide berth and be aware of people below you.
Yesterday was a bone fide storm day on Turnagain Pass. Heavy snowfall began in the morning and tapered off last night. See the snowfall and water numbers below. Ridgetop winds were strong, averaging in the 20’s mph with gusts into the 60’s. Temperatures were relatively warm; low 20’sF on ridgelines and 30F at 1,000′ in the parking lots.
Today we can expect partly clearing skies – to some degree – and a chance for localized instability showers. Another 1-2″ of snow could fall where these ‘showers’ take place. Temperatures will be slightly warmer, near 32F at 1,000′ and increase to the upper 20’s along the ridgelines. Ridgetop winds will be light, 5-10mph from a Westerly direction.
For this week, most of the weather is getting pushed South and we should see a mix between clearing skies and localized snow showers.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||26||7||0.7||30|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||26||2 (manual report 4+”)||0.2||10|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||28||4||0.4||20|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||23||SE||18||42|
|12/06/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Billy Finley|
|12/04/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||A.Johnston-Bloom/ W.Wagner/ R.Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/03/19||Turnagain||Observation: Hippy Bowl||Nick Langowski|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan, All elevations||Eric Roberts|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
|11/30/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Treeline Plateau/ Common Bowl/ Ridge||Eric Roberts|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #2||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #1||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/27/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/25/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunnyside||Graham Predeger 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
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