As we enter into November, high pressure resides over Alaska. Many of us are wondering if the icons on our smart phones will ever say snow? It seems ‘sunny’, ‘partly sunny’, ‘ cloudy’, etc keep popping up – anything but snow… Until then, the CNFAIC will be issuing intermittent updates. Daily avalanche advisories are planned to begin Thanksgiving week – but if snow eludes us, it will likely be later when conditions warrant. In the meantime, do your snow dances and cross your fingers!
Current conditions on Turnagain Pass – Sunburst Ridge
To break-in the season, we are focusing each update on one of the Know Before You Go’s ‘GETS’. Today’s GET is GET THE FORECAST! (Know Before You Go video link in case you missed it last week)
Up here in Alaska there are many areas that do not have an avalanche forecast. But there are some areas that do – Turnagain Pass, Hatcher Pass and Thompson Pass all have avalanche forecasts. Before heading out, know if there is a forecast for the place you are going and check it! A map for the CNFAIC Turnagain Pass forecast area is on the home page of this website. Other avalanche forecasts can be found at these links: Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center and the Valdez Avalanche Center. Keep in mind, avalanche danger can vary widely from one place to the next, it is not safe to extrapolate danger ratings to areas outside the forecast zones.
If you have read this far, you’re probably familiar with the North American Danger Scale – or at least the 5 colors associated with the ‘danger rating’. What do they all mean and how do avalanche forecasters come up with the danger each day? Here is a great reminder of this by our friends at the National Avalanche Center:
With all the fine print in the danger scale, what column is most important? The TRAVEL ADVICE. This is your best tool when planning your outing for the day.
Have you ever wondered what danger rating most avalanche fatalities occur? These fatal days are often the first day or two after a storm when skies clear but the snowpack has not yet adjusted to the new snow load. As the season unfolds, don’t forget this very important rule of thumb.
Don’t get confused – there are two showing with the Smileys:
BEARTOOTH THEATER PUB (NOV 16) GIRDWOOD BREWING COMPANY (NOV 17)
AVALANCHE EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIPS. The Friends of the CNFAIC have two scholarships dedicated to avalanche education. The funds generated to make these possible are in celebration of Rob and Amy, their love and passion for the mountains, and to help others stay safe. We encourage you to read each one and apply yourself if you fit the need, or pass along to someone who could benefit. Applications due on Dec 15th.
Rob Hamel Scholarship Fund – For recreational users and professional avalanche workers.
Amy Downing Scholarship Fund – For recreational users.