Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
There is a MODERATE avalanche danger in the mountains surrounding Turnagain Pass for a variety of avalanche concerns. First, wind slab avalanches around 1 foot thick will be possible to trigger above treeline on slopes that get loaded today and that were loaded over the past two days. Second, on the steeper terrain that has seen little wind effect, expect to trigger sluffs that could be high volume and run far. Lastly, in the lower elevations (below 2,000′, such as the Placer Valley area), watch for persistent soft slab avalanches 12-18″ thick that could release on a layer of buried surface hoar. Watch for changing conditions. If the approaching storm arrives earlier in the day than forecasted the danger could rise to CONSIDERABLE.
Practice safe travel protocols, always carry rescue gear and please let us know what you see out there!!! Thanks to everyone who sent in observations over the weekend!
Girdwood Valley: 10″ of new snow fell yesterday adding to the 8″ that fell the day before. Slabs and loose snow avalanches (sluffs) both have the potential to be larger due to more snow.
Summit Lake: Higher snowfall amounts fell on a generally weaker snowpack. Please check out the Saturday Summit Summary HERE.
Winds are increasing this morning as the next storm approaches. A few more inches of snow are forecasted to fall during the day and there is plenty of soft snow available to transport and to form tender wind slabs in the Alpine. Heavier, wetter snow falling today may make slabs more reactive. In addition, older wind slabs that formed over the weekend may also be triggered on steep leeward slopes. There was one skier triggered slab yesterday on a South facing slope on Lipps. In this avalanche the wind slab was resting on old hard wind crust from the wind event prior to the storm. This combination has been found in steep leeward terrain the past two days. Feel for hollow feeling snow, stiffer snow over softer snow or slab sitting on hard snow and watch for cracks that shoot out from your snowmachine, skis or board.
Skier triggered slide on Lipps 1.22.17. Photo: Mike Records
There is a significant amount of loose snow from not only Saturday’s storm but the snowfall earlier in the week. Expect sluffs to be triggered on slopes approaching 40 degrees. These are likely to be high volume and run fast and far. Sluff management will be key. In Girdwood Valley these will have more volume due to additional 10″ that fell yesterday.
A variety of persistant weak layers exist within the snowpack and vary across our region. In most cases these layers have been generally dormant. As more load is added and the slab develops they have the potential to become more reactive. In shallower parts of the area there are developed basal facets and in many locations there is a mid-pack layer of facets from December. At the lower elevations, below 2,000′, a layer of buried surface hoar exists under the last two snowfall events (12-18″ below the surface). Slab avalanches failing on this layer are possible where the snow on top is stiff enough to form a slab. In most locations, the snow is too loose and therefore triggering a slab in unlikely, but it seems the party on Cornbiscuit Saturday may have found one of these lower slopes that did indeed have enough of a slab on this suspected buried surface hoar. The lower terrain in Placer Valley is an area that may have a similar set up. All of these layers are important to remember if we receive a significant load in the next couple of days!!!
Surface hoar layer that was buried on January 13th. Photo from Eddies on January 17th. This layer has been found in a number of locations below 2000′ in the advisory area.
Yesterday was mostly cloudy with snow showers until late afternoon. Girdwood Valley saw consistent snowfall through most of the day with 10″ of low density of snow falling. Turnagain Pass only received an inch and skies cleared in the late afternoon. Winds were light and temperatures were in the teens. Overnight temperatures started to slowly rise and winds picked up early this morning.
Today skies will be cloudy and snow showers are expected with 1-5″ possible. Easterly winds will be 15-25 mph gusting into the 30s. Temperatures will rise into the 20Fs. Tonight the precipitation intensity is forecasted to increase with potential for over a foot or more of snow to fall. There is still some uncertainty about what the temperatures will be and the rain/snow line as the storm continues into tomorrow. Easterly winds will also increase overnight.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||14||1||.2||46|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||12||0||0||25|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||14||10||.5||49|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||13||SE||15||22|
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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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.