Cooling temperatures and clearing skies are a welcome relief to the overcast and low visibility conditions the past week. These better weather conditions will also allow for travel above treeline into the upper elevations – where the best powder exists from the past storms – this combination is our main concern at the avalanche center. Simply put, the snowpack is unstable in many areas and today could be a good day to get lured into steep avalanche terrain sporting good snow. What we have is a slab 2-4′ thick composed of last week’s storm snow (Jan 21 and Jan 26 storms). This slab sits on a variety of weak layers, most pronounced in the Girdwood Valley and the Southern end of Turnagain Pass, and further South. Several observers have noted widespread collapsing in the areas South of Turnagain Pass.
Careful snowpack evaluation is key today:
These are all good questions to be asking yourself. Keep in mind, these signs may not be present, especially in areas well traveled prior to the storms, but don’t let that sway you into thinking the steeper slope next door and less traveled is safe. Today could be a tricky day to truly assess if a slope will slide or not. Due to the potential for large un-survivable avalanches, hedging your bets and sticking to mellow slopes is recommended.
A couple other points to consider:
Low visibility and a thin snowpack exist on Magnum’s West face
Cornices have grown substantially with the Jan 26 warm storm. These could be teetering on the balance and if one breaks, is likely to trigger a potentailly large slab avalanche below. Please be careful along ridgelines as a cornice break could not only take you down, but a subsequent avalanche could overrun someone below you.
Yesterday’s weather consisted of overcast and obscured skies with light snow flurries. Snow accumulation was a trace to 3″ depending on locations. Temperatures continued to be warm, in the upper 20’s to 30F in most locations. Winds were light with gusts into the 20’smph from the Northwest.
Overnight, skies have cleared and temperatures have dropped dramatically with a cold Northwest flow over the region. Currently temperatures sit in the single digits above 3,000′ and in the teens below this, where they are expected to remain today. Ridgetop winds are, and will be, light to moderate from the Northwest (5-15mph) with gusts into the 20-30mph. There is no precipitation expected and skies should be partly sunny.
Tomorrow and Tuesday another system will move through bringing a chance for additional snow and warming temperatures before a possible dry spell for the later part of the work week. Stay tuned.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||21||2||0.1||62|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||17||0||0||26|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||21||trace||0.02||54|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||15||Rimed||Rimed||Rimed|
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner 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.