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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Mon, January 2nd, 2017 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, January 3rd, 2017 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Heather Thamm
The Bottom Line

A MODERATE avalanche danger remains in the alpine where triggering an isolated wind slab or a deeper slab 2+’ thick is possible on steep wind loaded slopes that haven’t avalanched. Within the trees and at lower elevations there is LOW avalanche danger, where triggering an avalanche is less likely.  

In the periphery zones of Johnson Pass and Summit Lake a much shallower snowpack exists and it may be easier to trigger a slab avalanche in these areas. Check out the Summit Lake Summary  HERE and an observation HERE from Tenderfoot from yesterday.

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Mon, January 2nd, 2017
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

PERSISTENT SLAB AVALANCHES (In our current case: Hard WIND SLABS SITTING ON WEAK SNOW): A big wind event that occurred on December 30th has stripped many Southern and Western ridgetops and left an unusual loading pattern for our region; loading Northern and Eastern aspects. This wind event as well as the Christmas snow storm (a week ago) caused widespread avalanching in the area. Several persistent weak layers are buried within the snowpack (facets and buried surface hoar), but strong supportable snow may make it tough to find the right trigger spot.  

Some uncertainty remains today with how the warm inverted air temps (approaching 40F) will affect the snowpack in the alpine. Although radiation from the sun at this time of year is minimal, whenever temperatures remain above freezing for 24 hours it is worth keeping in the back of your mind. Be skeptical of supportable and hollow sounding snow on steep slopes. Likely trigger spots will be in thinner areas of the snowpack in steep rocky terrain or on unsupported slopes that haven’t avalanched. Triggering a small isolated wind slab or a deeper slab 2+ feet is becoming more difficult, but is possible for a person or snowmachine to tip the balance. Obvious signs like cracking and ‘wumpfing’ are becoming less common and may not be an early warning sign. 

Before exposing yourself to steeper terrain, ask yourself what will happen if the slope slides? Always practice safe travel habits to minimize exposure in avalanche terrain! 

  • Expose one person at a time
  • Watch your partner from a safe zone
  • Have an escape route planned
  • Watch for other groups

A closer view of the natural avalanches that occured on Corn Biscuit’s North facing chutes last Friday (12/30.) Places that haven’t avalanched with similar characteristics (rocky starting zones, top loading and cross loading) remain suspect. 

 

Most of the snow along Southern aspects have blown away making it unlikely to trigger an avalanche in these areas.  

 

Weather
Mon, January 2nd, 2017

Yesterday skies were sunny and clear with light Northwest winds. A large temperature inversion was observed, 12F at 1000′ and 33F at ridge tops, which caused valley fog in Turnagain Arm.  

Overnight ridge top temps   increased into the high 30F’s Turnagain Pass and low 40F’s in the Girdwood Valley. Valley temps have remained around 10F. Winds have remained light and no precipitation was recorded.  

Today expect a similar inverted weather pattern with above freezing temperatures in the alpine and temperatures near 10F in valley bottoms. This will trap dense Valley fog in and along Turnagain Arm.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 33   0   0   38  
Summit Lake (1400′) 13   0   0   12  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 31   0   0   25  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 35   W   4   13  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 36   NW   5   16  
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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.