With a bit of a “Groundhog Day” feel our weather remains cold and clear and our snowpack is in a holding pattern of sorts. It has been 14 days since the last measureable precipitation and a week since the beginning of the Northwest ‘wind event’. Several large wind slab avalanches have occurred over the past week, most of these in the Summit Lake area South of the forecast zone. However, we did get a report of a suspected natural wind slab avalanche in the Girdwood Valley Sunday, on the North end of the forecast zone. This was on an upper elevation, Southwest facing slope, under Goat Mountain.
If you are headed to the mountains, the avalanche conditions are in a ‘Normal Caution’ regime. LOW avalanche danger doesn’t mean no avalanche danger. This means avalanches are unlikely, but not impossible. Things to watch for and keep in mind will be:
Old, stubborn and hard wind slabs could pop out in steep and rocky terrain. This is most likely where weak faceted snow sits under shallower hard slabs – usually found in the steep rocky thin zones. Watch for hard snow over weak loose snow as well as shooting cracks and whumphing noises. If winds ramp up today look for active loading along ridgelines however, there isn’t much snow left to move…
Loose Snow (Sluffs):
Dry sluffs on steep slopes are getting larger in areas harboring loose surface snow – watch your sluff! Also, with direct sun and depending on what the winds do today the Southerly aspects could become damp or wet in the afternoon. This may cause natural wet/damp loose snow avalanches on some steep Southerly slopes and/or make it more likely to trigger one.
Glide cracks continue to slowly open in the advisory area. These could release at any time, watch for the cracks in the terrain and avoid being under them.
There was a natural cornice fall in the Kern drainage observed on Friday (exact release time frame unknown). Cornices should always be given a wide berth from above and limit exposure time traveling underneath.
Persistent Slabs and Deep Slabs:
There are various weak layers in our thin snowpack; the snowpack is roughly half of what it normally is this time of year. Buried surface hoar sits 1-3+’ below the surface and faceted snow sits in the mid and base of the pack. These various weak layers with varying degrees of strength are in a dormant stage due to a lack of weather and ample time to adjust. Although this means the layers are not producing avalanches, it doesn’t mean an outlier can’t occur which causes a large avalanche breaking deeper in the pack.
Cornice in Petersen Creek yesterday. This is a good example of a cornice that could break farther back than expected.
Yesterday was clear and cold with temperatures mostly in the single digits. Winds were calm. Overnight temperatures dropped below zero.
Today will be very similar with the exception of a chance for stronger winds in the afternoon. Overall we are experiencing “a dry and stable pattern locked in place for the foreseeable future” —National Weather Service Discussion. There is a warming trend forecasted for the end of the week as warm air aloft pushes into the region.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||3||0||0||61|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||0||0||0||29|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||5||0||0||57|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||3||NE||5||15|
|01/23/21||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||Matti Silta|
|01/22/21||Turnagain||Observation: JOHNSON PASS||Anonymous|
|01/20/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Johnston-Bloom / Roberts Forecaster|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst and Tincan||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||CNFAIC Staff|
|01/19/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan 2900′ SW aspect below Hippy Bowl.||Kris Marshall|
|01/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs.||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer 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.