Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
The avalanche danger is MODERATE above 1000′. On steep Southerly facing slopes in the afternoon and evening, triggering wet slab and wet loose avalanches will be possible as the sun heats up and softens Southerly (SE-S-SW) aspects. Paying attention to aspect and time of day are crucial. Watch for changing conditions as the sun affects colder aspects more and more each day. On Northerly slopes, where dry snow exists, there is still a chance of triggering a deeper persistent slab avalanche 2-5+’ thick. Avoid travel on or under cornices and give glide cracks a wide berth.
Below 1000′ the avalanche danger is LOW. Triggering an avalanche is unlikely. It is still important to pay attention to runout from higher elevation terrain.
FRIDAY AVALANCHE OUTLOOK:
No avalanche forecast will be issued tomorrow, Friday April 21st. The avalanche outlook will be the same message due to a similar weather forecast, however temperatures are creeping up each day with less and less of an overnight freeze. The danger could rise to CONSIDERABLE if temperatures do not go below freezing overnight tonight.
We have not observed or received any reports of natural avalanche activity with the exception of glide releases in the past two days. The temperatures have been dipping below freezing every night but have been slowly climbing again over the past two days. Warmer temperatures and longer days with direct sunshine on slopes means that the melt-freeze cycle is slowly migrating to colder aspects (specifically W-NW). Today and tomorrow it will be important to pay close attention to how the warming is affecting the pack. We are in a melt-freeze cycle on Southerly (SE-S-SW) slopes – hard frozen crusts in the morning, which turn to unsupportable mushy and unstable snow by the afternoon/evening, the less of a freeze the greater the likelihood of wet avalanches. Choosing what aspect to travel on, paying attention to the time of day and how long the slope you are on has been exposed to direct sunlight are essential to staying out of trouble. As colder aspects heat up remember cold snow, persistent weak layers and free water are a bad combination. Watch for roller balls and natural wet loose avalanches indicating surface warming. Wet loose snow avalanches may also trigger deeper slabs.
If heading out for a fun day in the sun keep these points in mind:
Click HERE for a great dicussion from the forecasters at Avalanche Canada on managing spring avalanche conditions.
Magnum, Super Bowl and Cornbicuit from the heli. A good look at shaded versus solar aspects. Choosing aspect is crucial this time of year. Photo: Graham Predeger
Cornices: Cornices are large and likely hanging close to their tipping point due to warm temperatures. Direct sunshine, a person, or a group of people on top these could be enough to cause one to break. Cornice crevasses have also been noted (opening slots where the cornice is pulling away from the ridge but has not broken off. Give cornices a wide berth from above and limit exposure under them from below.
Eddies south side looks similar to the glide carnage of last year. Several glide avalanches have released and existing cracks are opening each day. Seattle Ridge is also littered with opening cracks as well as the south side of Tincan. There was a new glide release observed in Lynx Creek yesterday. We expect this trend to continue today and tomorrow. Keep an eye out for glide cracks and limit time underneath them. Remember they are the entire snowpack releasing to the ground without warning.
Eddies RWIS camera capturing a glide release just after 7 pm last night
Eddies glide avalanches. Photo: Jessie Haffener & Sam Galoob
Tincan glide cracks. Photo: Jessie Haffener & Sam Galoob
In this springtime transition it is important to remember on the shaded and cooler side of the mountains, Northerly aspects, a cold mostly dry snowpack exists. Afternoon warming may also influence how easy it is to trigger weak layers that are buried anywhere from 2-5′ below the surface. As folks venture out looking for “cold, soft snow” this remains a concern. Shaded aspects in the mid and upper elevations that haven’t avalanched already are the most suspect places for triggering a deeper slab. On Monday the 4th skier on a slope in Triangle Bowl triggered a slab that ran on the April Fool’s storm rain crust. As the solar effect creeps onto more northerly slopes the interaction between cold snow and melt water also become more of a concern.
This problem is one of low probability but high consequence as these are potentially large and unsurvivable slides.
Keep these points in mind:
Yesterday was mostly clear and sunny with a few scattered clouds. Temperatures climbed into the high 40Fs in the lower elevations and into the mid 30Fs at upper elevations. Easterly winds were 5-15 mph gusting to 20mph. Temperatures dropped to freezing or below overnight.
Today will be clear and sunny again. Temperatures will be in the high 40Fs at lower elevations and the mid to high 30Fs at upper elevations. Winds will be light and variable. Temperatures will again drop to the low 30Fs or below tonight.
Tomorrow looks to be similar if not slightly warmer. Clouds will start moving in Friday night with a chance of rain/snow showers on Saturday. A series of lows are forecasted to move into the Gulf bringing rain and snow to the area into next week.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||40||0||0||62|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||34||0||0||20|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||36||0||0||56|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||No Data||SE||8||20|
|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.