Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, January 10th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, January 11th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Heather Thamm
The Bottom Line

A generally  LOW  avalanche danger exists across all elevations bands for the Turnagain area. Triggering a slab avalanche is unlikely but not impossible. Glide cracks may release into avalanches. Limiting/avoiding exposure under them is prudent. Give cornices a wide berth and watch your sluff.

SUMMIT LAKE / JOHNSON PASS / LYNX DRAINAGE: 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 and please read the Additional Concerns below.  

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Thu, January 10th, 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

Despite our generally stable conditions, it is still important to look for signs of instability as the mountains can surprise us at times. Periods of localized ridgetop winds over the last two days have transported some surface snow. Finding an isolated wind slab is not out of the question. The last avalanche triggered was over a week ago and cold temperatures have been helping the snowpack adjust. Observations and snowpack tests have been pointing towards a stabilizing snowpack.

Low danger does not mean no danger. Practice good travel habits, such as exposing one person at a time, watching your partners and grouping up in safe zones are key ways to minimize risk. Ease into steep terrain and factor in the consequences should you encounter one of the following:

  • Glide avalanche:  
    • Identify glide cracks and avoid spending any time under these features. Glide cracks are opening and have avalanched within the last week. Glides are completely unpredictable and not human triggered.
  • An outlier slab avalanche: 
    • Triggering a slab avalanche would most likely occur on an exposed ‘unsupported slope’ that sits above a cliff or steep rocky terrain. A wind slab or a pocket of buried surface hoar 1-3′ below the surface may be lurking in an isolated area.
  • Cornice fall: 
    • Remember cornices often break farther back from ridges than expected. Give them a wide berth.
  • Loose Snow Sluffs:
    • Be aware of fast moving surface snow in steep terrain. Sluffs are slowly becoming larger as the cold weather weakens surface layers.

 Glide cracks and wind textured snow on the SW face of Tincan Proper. Photo taken yesterday 1/9/18 compliments of Allen D. and Eric R. Glide cracks are present in a lot of popular terrain and can be hard to see until you’re suddenly near one.

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 last avalanche cycle was over a week ago during the New Year’s storm, and overloaded a variety of these weak layers in Summit Lake. Cold weather this weak has been helping stability around the area, but steep slopes without debris below remain suspect. If you’re headed this way, the snowpack becomes more complex – evaluate terrain exposure and the snowpack as you travel.

Weather
Thu, January 10th, 2019

Yesterday: Skies were partly cloudy becoming overcast in the afternoon with a period of light snow showers. A trace of snow was observed. Temperatures were in the teens F in the upper elevations and dropped into the single digits overnight. Valley bottom temps increased from single digits F to teens throughout the day. Ridgetop winds were light 5-15 mph from the NW with a few hours in the 10-20mph range.  

Today: Expect clear skies and single digit temperatures in the upper elevations with slightly warmer valley temps. Temperatures in the alpine are expected to drop into the negative digits by this evening. Ridgetop winds should remain light from the NW winds. No precipitation is expected.

Tomorrow: Clear skies and single digit temperatures will continue through tomorrow before a weather pattern shift on Friday night. A series of fronts associated with a low-pressure system moves into the Gulf of Alaska bringing warm, windy and wet conditions by Sunday.   This is our next chance for snow with rain expected near coastal areas.

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

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 15   0 0   54  
Summit Lake (1400′)  6 0   0   20  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 10   trace   0   42  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 8   WNW   5   23  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 13   *N/A   *N/A     *N/A    
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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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