Triggering a slab avalanche up to 2′ or more remains our main concern for folks getting out into the backcountry on this nice holiday weekend. These slabs are becoming difficult to trigger as time passes, but the possibility for a large and unmanageable slide remains. The most likely place to find these are slopes that have not seen significant traffic this season. Several layers of buried surface hoar and weak faceted snow exist in the snowpack. Between 1 and 2′ below the surface is the Jan 21 layer of buried surface hoar with weak facets directly below. This layer continues to show signs of reactivity. Yesterday a group in the Seattle Creek drainage (Main Bowl/1st Bowl area) reported widespread collapsing and cracking, presumably in the Jan 21st weak layer, at the mid-elevations.
Another thing to keep in mind is days are getting longer, allowing the sun to warm up Southerly slopes. Adding to this, a warm air mass moved in last night. These warmer temperatures can add to the instability of slabs that sit near the breaking point. The main point it, don’t let the mountains lure you into thinking the snowpack is stable.
Lingering old wind slabs are scattered around the mountains. Although on the stubborn side, some of these slabs could still be triggered by a person. They are likely to be relatively hard and could break above you. The recent warm temperatures may also help to reactivate them. Watch for stiff snow over softer snow, pillowed surfaces and cracks in the snow that shoot out from you.
Wind slab avalanche, likely snowmachine triggered, from several days ago in 2nd Bowl in the Seattle Creek drainage.
Above 3,000′ in the Alpine, several old weak layers of facets and buried surface hoar sit near the ground and in the mid-pack. This structure is most pronounced in places with a thin overall snow cover, such as the South end of Turnagain Pass and the Summit Lake area. As you plan your day, keep in mind that there are deeper persistent layers that could ‘wake up’ if you find a trigger spot in a shallow area.
Mostly sunny skies with thin high clouds were over the region yesterday. Ridgetop winds were light and variable. Temperatures climbed at the upper elevations in the afternoon due to solar radiation along with a very warm air mass streaming in. Sunburst weather station at 3,812′ reported 35F at 5pm and remains above 30F this morning.
For today, partly cloudy skies are expected along with a chance for a few flurries this afternoon (trace accumulation possible). Ridgetop winds should increase slightly to ~5-10mph from the South and East. An inversion is in place this morning and temperatures in valley bottoms are between 5-15F, which are expected to increase to the low 30’sF through the day. Temperatures will remain warm at the mid to upper elevations.
For tomorrow, President’s Day, a return to sunny skies and light winds are forecast. The middle of the week may see an increase in NW winds, yet the mostly clear skies should remain.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||32||0||0||64|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||13||0||0||24|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||23||0||0||57|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||29||E||6||16|
|12/06/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Billy Finley|
|12/04/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||A.Johnston-Bloom/ W.Wagner/ R.Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/03/19||Turnagain||Observation: Hippy Bowl||Nick Langowski|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan, All elevations||Eric Roberts|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
|11/30/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Treeline Plateau/ Common Bowl/ Ridge||Eric Roberts|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #2||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #1||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/27/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/25/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunnyside||Graham Predeger 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|
Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email