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Fri, April 12th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Sat, April 13th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Overall our snowpack has good stability.  The only concerns we’ve been seeing are in the layers near the surface – in the top 2 feet.  Some areas at higher elevation that received more snow recently in addition to wind loading could have pockets of triggerable wind slab.  

Watch out for specific wind loaded features.  Small and shallow 1-2 foot deep avalanches are possible.

Most areas that have not been affected by wind loading will have a low avalanche danger today.

Special Announcements

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Craig Patterson, a  Utah Department of Transportation avalanche forecaster who died yesterday.  Check the Utah Avalanche Center website for the latest information on this tragic event.

Fri, April 12th, 2013
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
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
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Recent Activity

We got a report yesterday of a skier triggered avalanche on Raggedtop in Girdwood.  The slide was up to 2 feet deep, 50-75 feet wide, and large enough to bury a person.  See the full description on the observations page.

The wind slab problem has been evident over the last few days in specific wind loaded areas.  Keep in mind that this issue is not found everywhere, but should be expected on certain terrain features.  Wendy’s picture from yesterday is a good example of terrain that holds the wind slab potential.

With an increased north wind expected in the weather forecast today, we will see more of that soft light surface snow blowing around and creating more wind slab.  This problem is going to get a little worse today.


Avalanche Problem 2
  • Dry Loose
    Dry Loose
Dry Loose
Dry Loose avalanches are the release of dry unconsolidated snow and typically occur within layers of soft snow near the surface of the snowpack. These avalanches start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-dry avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Yesterday we were able to get soft snow to sluff in steep terrain.  It was fairly low volume, but should be expected on steep slopes and channeled terrain such as chutes and couloirs.  

Sluffing is not likely to carry enough volume to bury a person, but it could be dangerous in very steep or high consequence terrain.

Fri, April 12th, 2013

Sunny skies are forecasted today.  Temperatures this morning are in the single digits, with an expected daytime warming into the mid 20s.  A north wind should increase today with channeled outflow wind accelerating through some specific areas.  Turnagain Pass will see wind from 12-28 mph.  Seward could reach 40mph, and Whittier could see gusts to 60mph.  

Fitz will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, April 13th.

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/16/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst/Magnum
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Seattle Ridge
11/13/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Trees
11/12/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/12/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Goldpan – avalanche
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Taylor Pass – Sunburst
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.