We are focusing each early season update on one of the Know Before You Go’s ‘GETS’. Today’s GET is GET OUT OF HARMS WAY! (Know Before You Go video link in case you missed it)
Learning how to travel safely in avalanche terrain is a practiced skill. Most avalanche accidents occur on (or beneath) slopes with a steepness between 30 – 45 degrees. When you take an avalanche course your learn how to evaluate slope angles, identify run-out zones, and how to avoid terrain traps. Before you decide to go into the backcountry, check the forecast. This will help you match your terrain choice to the current avalanche conditions. If the avalanche conditions are too dangerous don’t go into avalanche terrain.
In order to minimize your exposure to an avalanche hazard always practice safe travel rituals. Identify safe zones along your route and only expose one at a time in avalanche terrain by spreading out or going one at a time. Its very important to maintain good communication, spot your partners, and always be rescue ready. For snowmachiners this can be extra challenging due to much faster speeds, loud engines and greater distances. Consider using radios and discuss your route and safe zones before you start riding. Always regroup well away from slopes that can avalanche. Remember even small slopes can have deadly consequences.
Below are a series of photos of popular areas around Turnagain Pass that are in avalanche terrain. Note the location of the skin track or uptrack. Think about where your safe zones would be located along these routes and how you can minimize exposure should the slope realease.
This avalanche was triggered by a snowmachiner on January 8th, 2013 and luckily no one was caught.
Natural Cornice fall triggered a small slab and ran into the terrain trap below and up and over a common “safe zone.” Imagine how far a larger avalanche could run in this same slide path.
This avalanche was triggered by a skier in 2015 who was caught and carried, and thankfully not buried or injured. This avalanche crossed over the skin track below. Its important to note avalanche hazard can exist on both sides of the valley and it is challenging to see if other parties are descending from above.
For weather information during these updates, see:
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)|
|Summit Lake (1400′)|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)|
|01/31/23||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass area||Megan Guinn / W Wagner Forecaster|
|01/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Backdoor||AAS-Level 1 1/27-1/30|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Brooke Edwards|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Common||Tony Naciuk|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||John Sykes|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Lynx Creek||Megan Guinn / W Wagner|
|01/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||John Sykes Forecaster|
|01/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Schauer/ Guinn|
|01/21/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Elias Holt|
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.