Triggering a slab avalanche 1-2+ feet deep remains possible above 1000’ due several weak layers buried within the snowpack. A layer of buried surface hoar from Jan. 21st continues to show signs of reactivity in the upper elevations, and a layer of facets over a melt-freeze crust is suspect in the mid elevation band. The slab ranges from hard to soft depending on exposure to recent winds. The Northwest winds overnight Thursday blew the 3-4” inches of new snow into stiff wind crusts. As noted yesterday this wind direction can funnel through Turnagain Pass from a variety of directions causing unusual wind loading patterns that were evident traveling on Sunburst. Another 4-5″ of light snow fell overnight and today we may pick up an additional 2-4.” This combined with escalating Northwest winds may add more slab and stress to the snowpack. Be suspect of hard snow under the new soft snow, especially where the slab is fully supportable or hollow sounding. Red flags like shooting cracks or “whumpfing” may not be present before a slope releases. Evaluate the terrain for consequences and be aware of places that haven’t seen much traffic. These less traveled places are more suspect for triggering a more connected slab.
Deep Persistent Slabs: Keep in mind that there are deeper persistent layers that could ‘wake up’ if you find the wrong spot above 3,000′ in the Alpine. At these high elevations, old weak layers of facets and buried surface hoar sit in the bottom half of the snowpack. This structure is most pronounced in places with a thin overall snow cover, such as the South end of Turnagain Pass, the Summit Lake area and Crow Pass.
Triggering a wind slab is possible today on steep unsupported terrain features where winds have been transporting snow. These slabs could range from tender and soft with new snow overnight being moved by winds today or hard and supportable due to the strong winds Thursday night. Remember the hard wind affected snow will be under the new snow. It may be harder to pick out wind loaded areas with the fresh coating of snow on top and slab could release from above once committed to a steep slope.
Sunshine: If the clouds break earlier than expected today remember that it is that time of year when we need to pay attention to the sun. The sun can heat up Southerly aspects, and melt surface snow and cause small point releases in the loose new snow. This will be more of a concern if winds are calm today, which may be the case this afternoon. This heating can also cause a slab sitting on a weak layer to become more reactive. Avoid steep solar aspect if you notice the surface snow becoming moist or you see roller balls or point releases under rocks.
Wind effect on the Sunburst ridge yesterday
Wind crust on Sunburst easily sliding off of snow below. New snow and wind loading today could turn this into a wind slab.
Yesterday started clear and became cloudy by the evening. Temperatures were in the teens to low 20Fs. Winds started out Northwesterly and gusted into the 60s on Seattle Ridge in the morning. They switched to the Southeast overnight and blew in the teens gusting into the 30s.
4-5″ of light snow fell overnight with an additional 2-4″ in the forecast today. Temperatures will be in the teens to mid 20Fs. Southwinds winds are forecast to shift back to the Northwest in the afternoon blowing 10-20 mph with gusts into the 30s.
Sunshine is on tap for tomorrow and then a chance of snow again Sunday. This pattern of smaller storms followed by sunshine looks to continue into next week.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||22||4||0.3||68|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||18||5||0.3||30|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||20||5||0.2||61|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||16||NW-SE||20||62|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: south facing aspect on 3800ft bump just northeast of 4940||Anonymous|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Cornbiscuit & Magnum||Allen Dahl|
|01/19/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
|01/18/20||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/18/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Eric Roberts|
|01/18/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: North end Tincan trees||Heather Johnson|
|01/17/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Allen Dahl|
|01/16/20||Turnagain||Observation: Lynx Creek||Wagner / Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/13/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/12/20||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum West face||Levi Oyster|
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: email@example.com
|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.