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Tue, March 17th, 2020 - 7:00AM
Wed, March 18th, 2020 - 7:00AM
Ryan Van Luit
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Today the avalanche danger is LOW.   A low danger does not mean no danger.  Normal caution is advised for loose wet avalanches, cornices, thin wind slabs, and glide cracks. Loose dry avalanches are possible for a human to trigger on wind protected and shaded aspects.  Remain aware of changing surface conditions.

SUMMIT LAKE to SEWARD: Extra caution is advised. In much of this terrain the overall snowpack is thinner and triggering a large slab avalanche is possible due to a weaker snowpack.

Special Announcements

Cancelled – March 21st Avalanche Awareness Day 
We regret to announce the cancellation of the March 21st Turnagain Takeover Avalanche Awareness day at Turnagain Pass. As an organization that promotes public safety, our first priority is keeping the backcountry community safe and informed. Given the nationwide spread of coronavirus, we are following the recommended guidelines to limit social gatherings. Thank you for your understanding.

Tue, March 17th, 2020
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
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

Cloudy skies are forecast for today with a chance of 1-2″ of snow accumulation in the upper elevations by late afternoon.  The temperatures are expected in the 20’s to low 30’s °F with light to moderate ridgetop winds from the southeast reaching toward 28mph.

With cloud cover expected today, direct sunlight may play less of a driving factor in our surface instabilities.  With that said, clouds could create a greenhouse effect unless the winds verify.  Regardless, as our ambient air temperatures hover in the 20’s °F throughout most of the advisory area, the surface of the snowpack could move closer to weakening the crusts and create loose wet avalanches.

In areas with a thinner snowpack, including the southern edge of the forecast zone and Summit lake, weak snow remains buried 1-2′ below the surface. This remains a concern and extra caution is advised for triggering a dry slab avalanche.

Cornices: As usual, it’s prudent to give cornices a wide berth and limit your time beneath them.

Glide cracks: Avoid travel below these unpredictable frown looking features.

Loose dry snow:  Loose dry snow still exists in many areas, especially on northerly wind protected aspects.  On steep slopes where this is the case, sluff could be easy for a human to initiate and could move down slope with enough volume to take a person off their feet or machine.

Wind slabs:  Small wind slabs could form today with new snow and winds reaching into the 20’s mph.  These could be touchy to human trigger if they fell on the recently formed surface hoar which was likely preserved on northerly and windward aspects.

2-12mm surface hoar found on windward and shaded aspects of Max’s.  Based on relative humidity, it’s suspected this may be found throughout the advisory area on similar aspects.  3.15.20. Photo: CNFAIC archive.

Tue, March 17th, 2020
Yesterday:  Clear skies with temperatures ranging in the 20°Fs to mid 30°Fs. Winds were westerly 5-10 mph with gusts into the teens.  No precip.

Today:  Cloudy with a chance of snow in the afternoon.  Temperatures are forecast to range from the 20’s °F to a high near 34°F. East winds are expected to be calm to light at 5 mph.

Tomorrow:  Cloudy, then trending to become mostly sunny, with a high near 37°F and a lows in the 20’s °F. Calm to light winds are expected from the northwest near 5 mph.

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

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 24 0 0 66
Summit Lake (1400′) 21 0 0 30
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 22 0 0 76

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 23 WSW-E 6 21
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 22 VAR 5 11
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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.