Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
A LOW avalanche danger remains in the backcountry at all elevations. Although triggering an avalanche is unlikely, it is not impossible on steep wind loaded features and in extreme terrain. Be aware of old hard wind slabs and loose dry avalanches(sluffs) in steep terrain, as well as large cornices. Glide cracks continue to open – limiting exposure under these is recommended.
Good travel habits are important, even during ‘green light conditions’. These include exposing only one person at a time on a slope, watching your partners closely and having an escape route planned in case the snow moves.
Summit Lake, South of Johnson Pass and North in parts of the Girdwood Valley (around Crow Pass): A reminder that the snowpack remains thinner in these areas with a poor structure. There is still a chance for triggering an avalanche deeper in the snowpack in these areas. Read the Saturday Summit Summary HERE.
The weather DJ seems to have left the buliding and the weather pattern continues to be stuck on repeat. Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine… Yesterday cloudy skies in the middle of the day were almost a tease. Today there will be an uptick in afternoon NW winds to add a little spice but really the story remains the same. We have seen 20 days without any precipitation and nine days since a wind event impacted our region. Despite the weather and snowpack conditions being mostly stable and the weak layers dormant, a hard wind slab 12-18” deep was triggered by a snowmachiner three days ago on a SE aspect of Seattle Ridge. This is a good example of a wind loaded terrain feature still harboring unstable snow and a good reminder that LOW danger does not mean NO danger. Kicking off even a small wind slab or loose snow avalanche in steep terrain may have high consequences. Things to keep in mind if you are headed to the mountains today:
Wind Slabs: Old and hard winds slabs are easy to find but for the most part they are locked into place. Smooth pillowed snow on steep unsupported features or in rocky areas will be the most suspect zones for someone to initiate an old wind slab. Pay attention to blowing snow today if the NW winds start to pick up any soft snow. There is not much left to transport. Watch for shooting cracks if slopes are actively being loaded.
Loose Snow Avalanches (Sluffs): Dry sluffs on steep slopes are probable and have been fast moving this week.
Glide Avalanches: Glide cracks continue to slowly open above popular terrain on Seattle Ridge and in other areas of the advisory area. These could release at any time, watch for these cracks and avoid being under them.
Cornices: 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. Buried surface hoar sits 1-3+’ below the surface and faceted snow sits in the mid and base of the pack. These weak layers with varying degrees of strength are in a dormant stage due to plenty of time to adjust with a lack of changing weather. Although its unlikely, an avalanche breaking deeper in the pack isn’t completely out of the question in Johnson Pass, Lynx Creek and in parts of Girdwood Valley (especially around Crow Pass).
This hard wind slab was initiated by a snowmachine just below the trees, lookers left side of photo, while exiting the slide path. This was on a SE aspect of Seattle Ridge at 2400′ in an area near ‘God’s Country’. Photo by Brian Bird.
High clouds over Seattle Ridge yesterday. Note the series of glide cracks along the ridge that continue to open.
Yesterday high clouds rolled into the region as a short wave passed over. Skies cleared in the evening. Winds were light and variable. Temperatures were in the teens to low 20Fs. Overnight the temperatures dropped into the single digits.
Today is forecasted to be clear, sunny and cold. Valley temperatures may hit the low 20s but the ridge tops will remain in the single digits to low teens. NW winds are expected to pick up with gusts into the 20s. Tonight temperatures may drop below 0F.
Tomorrow will be partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of light snow in the afternoon and the colder temperatures will continue. There is hope that the overall pattern will change more significantly early next week.
*Seattle Weather Station tables and graphs are not recording temperature history. The current temperature at 7 am was 7F.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||11||0||0||59|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||8||0||0||28|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||14||0||0||56|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||*n/a||variable||4||12|
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|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.