Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Tue, January 8th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, January 9th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
The Bottom Line

A generally  LOW  avalanche danger exists across all elevations bands for the Turnagain Area. Triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible. Good travel habits, such as exposing one person at a time, watching your partners and grouping up in safe zones are, as always, key ways to minimize risk.  Ease onto steep slopes and be mindful of people below you and on adjacent slopes. Avoid travel under glide cracks.  

SUMMIT LAKE / JOHNSON PASS / LYNX DRAINAGE:  *** We want to emphasize the difference here! More caution is advised  South of Turnagain Pass.***  Keep in mind buried weak layers exist in the middle and base of the snowpack. More potential for triggering a large slab avalanche exists in this zone. Choose terrain wisely. Please read the Additional Concerns.  

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Tue, January 8th, 2019
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

It has been a week since we had any report of human triggered avalanche activity and observers are not reporting signs of instability. As a mostly calm and cold weather pattern dominates our area and continues until the weekend, we are in the “normal caution” phase of avalanche concerns. These include:

  • Triggering an outlier avalanche. This would most likely be an ‘unsupported slab’ that sits above a cliff or steep rocky terrain. There may still be a pocket of buried surface hoar lurking.
  • Triggering a cornice fall. Remember they break farther back from ridges than often expected. Give them a wide berth.
  • Sluffs on steep slopes. These have been mostly small so far but as the surface becomes weaker the potential will increase. 

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting caught in a glide avalanche also remains a concern. Glide cracks are opening and releasing and have been observed throughout the advisory area in both the Alpine and Treeline elevation bands. It is important to minimize time spent underneath the glide cracks. Release is unpredictable and not human triggered. Be on the lookout for cracks and wrinkled looking snow (often a precursor to cracking). 

Remember LOW hazard doesn’t mean NO hazard! It is still important to look for signs of instability and use good travel techniques.  


Recent glide avalanches and glide cracks opening in Lynx Creek drainage, 1-7-19.

Lipps glide cracks, 1-7-19. 

Additional Concern
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

South of Turnagain – Lynx Creek/Johnson Pass/Summit Lake zone:  A poor snowpack structure exists in these areas. The buried surface hoar that we have been talking about over the past week has been found as well as facet/crust combinations in the bottom of the snowpack. The New Year’s storm overloaded a variety of these weak layers as can be seen in photos from the avalanche activity throughout Summit LakeIf you’re headed this way, the snowpack becomes more complex – evaluate terrain exposure and the snowpack as you travel. 

The facet/crust combination continues to be a layer of concern in Summit Lake. Observers over the weekend found this set-up to be stubborn to initiate but still consistently reactive in multiple stability tests.

 

Weather
Tue, January 8th, 2019

Yesterday:  Skies were clear, winds were light and temperatures were cold. Upper elevation highs were in the single digits to low teens and valley bottom lows were in the negative teens with the inversion. Valley fog conditions persisted. Clouds built in the late afternoon and temperatures increased a little overnight.  

Today:  Is forecast to be partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers and light southeast winds. Temperatures will be in the teens and low 20Fs. Skies clear again overnight.  

Tomorrow:  Sunshine and cooling temperatures return Wednesday and will be the dominant weather through Friday. Stay tuned for a change over the weekend with a potential return, according to the National Weather Service to warmer, wetter, and  overall more unsettled weather as we  head into next week”.

*Seattle Ridge weather station was heavily rimed and the anemometer (wind sensor) was destroyed. We are currently working to replace it.  

PRECIPITAT

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 8    0  0  55
Summit Lake (1400′)  -3      0  0   21  
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  5       0    0  45

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)  10  SW 3   16  
Seattle Ridge (2400′)   11    *N/A *N/A    *N/A
Observations
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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, December 02nd, 2019

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Closed.
Placer River
Closed
Closed.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Closed.
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed.
Twentymile
Closed
Closed.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Closed.
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Closed.
Primrose Trail
Closed
Closed.
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor
Closed
Closed.
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Closed.
Summit Lake
Closed
Closed.

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