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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, March 2nd, 2019 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, March 3rd, 2019 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

There is a generally LOW avalanche danger in the Turnagain, Girdwood and Portage areas. Triggering a slab avalanche is unlikely. Watch for sluffs on steep shaded slopes and give cornices a wide berth. Glide cracks are moving, minimize travel under them as they can release at anytime.

SUMMIT LAKE / SILVERTIP:   More caution is advised south of Turnagain Pass as the snowpack is thin and harbors old weak layers. There is potential for a person to trigger a slab avalanche on steep slopes. See additional concerns below.

PORTAGE LAKE and BYRON GLACIER TRAIL:    Heads up that thin ice has been reported on Portage Lake. Additionally, the popular snow cave past the end of the Byron Glacier Trail is very dangerous and unstable. If you didn’t see  this video from February check it out.

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Sat, March 2nd, 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

After 8 days of brilliant sunny skies and springtime temperatures, a few clouds and cooler air is slated to move in today. The decrease in temperature will limit wet avalanche activity on south facing slopes and avalanche danger has dropped to Normal Caution (LOW danger). Over the past week, avalanche activity has been related to afternoon warming on southerly facing slopes. This triggered a number of wet loose slides, a few moist slabs and a few glide avalanches. As the southerly slopes now sport a solid sun crust, which may not soften today, and wet avalanches are not expected, glide avalanches are the exception moving forward. Things to keep in mind if you are headed out today:

  • Glide avalanches – Several small glide cracks released yesterday. These types of avalanches are highly destructive, unpredictable and not associated with human triggers. It’s always best to watch for and limit exposure under glide cracks.
  • Dry-loose sluffs – Loose surface snow exists in steep shaded terrain. Dry sluffs can move faster than expected or knock a person over.
  • Cornice falls – As always in mountain travel, give cornices a wide berth. 
  • An outlier slab avalanche – Although it is unlikely a person could trigger a slab avalanche, the mountains can harbor surprises, especially in thin snowpack areas. Considering the consequences before entering into high consequence terrain and maintaining good travel protocol are good habits that could pay off one day.

 

Glide avalanches on the lower portion of Raggedtop Mtn, releasing yesterday (3/1). Photo taken from Girdwood.

 

Recent wet loose avalanche activity in upper Glacier Creek / Girdwood Valley. 

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 – Summit Lake and Silvertip zones:  For anyone traveling in this area note that a shallow snowpack with a generally poor structure exists. A variety of old weak layers (facets and buried surface hoar) sit in the mid and base of the snowpack. It is uncertain as to how reactive these layers are at this point and if they could produce a slab avalanche. We do know whumpfing has been observed in the Summit area and last Thursday’s (2/21) wind event triggered many large slab avalanches breaking in deeper weak layers. Assessing the slab as well as the weak layer will be important. Old wind slabs in steep terrain sitting on weak snow are the most suspect places to trigger an avalanche.

Weather
Sat, March 2nd, 2019

Yesterday:   Sunny skies with light and variable winds were over the region. Temperatures climbed into the mid 30’sF along the high peaks and mid elevations, while valley bottoms reached 30F. Overnight, temperatures have only dropped to the teens at most low elevations while ridgetop temperatures have dropped to the teens as well – limiting the inversion.

Today:    A few clouds are slated to move in today along with a chance for valley fog. The ridge of high pressure is weaker and that has decreased temperatures in the Alpine and increased them at sea level. Daytime highs should reach the mid 20’sF along ridgelines and the mid 30’sF in the low elevations. Ridgetop winds will be light from the east, 5-10mph.  

Tomorrow:   Mostly cloudy skies with a chance for a snow flurry or two will be over the area. No accumulation is expected. Mountian temperatures look to remain in the teens to 20’sF while ridgetop winds will be light from the east.  


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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 29   0   0   59  
Summit Lake (1400′) 21   0   0   28  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 30   0   0   54  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 30   E   3   10  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 30   E   5   12  
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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

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
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.