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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sat, November 9th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Sun, November 10th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

During the past week there have been a few reports trickling in and one human triggered avalanche in the  Front Range  area.  Snow cover right now starts just above 2000ft and is nil to a couple feet deep in catchment zones. Below is a photo of Seattle Ridge from the Center Ridge parking lot on Wednesday, November 6th.

As we head into the weekend we have a storm on tap that will hopefully produce in our neck of the woods. In this case, we need to get our avalanche game on. Things to be on the lookout for are both storm snow instabilities as well as how the new snow is sticking to the variety of preexisting surfaces.

Storm snow instabilities: These are in the form of fresh wind slabs,  sluffing in the new snow or soft slab avalanches often due to  upside-down storms.  Simply being aware of your surroundings can tell you much about what type of storm snow issues you may have to deal with.

Preexisting surface concerns:
           Bare ground. This can be a problem when the ground is warm. If new snow stacks up quick enough, storm snow can be lubricated from underneath and slide – either in a slab or a point release avalanche.
Old snow  – above 2000ft. We have little information on the preexisting snow at the higher elevations but all signs point to it being mostly loose and faceted  (photo below). This is due to our recent cold/dry spell. Other types of surfaces that have been reported are  hard windpacked snow, wind/rain crusts and creamy recycled powder. Though none of these surfaces are great for new snow to bond with, it is the loose faceted snow that seems the most prevalent and is a textbook weak layer. Any snowfall or wind deposited snow on top of this is a perfect avalanche producer. If we do happen to get enough snow to lure folks out I’d be very suspect of areas with old snow underneath – these areas are usually the same places we want to recreate.

Loose faceted snow from 2,400ft on Seattle Ridge – Friday, Nov 8th.

A note on rescue gear:

If you haven’t done so already,  make sure all your rescue gear is in order. That means putting  new batteries in your beacon and cleaning the terminals  if necessary. Check to see if the cable that holds your probe together is still well intact at the hinge points and not going to break upon assembly. Is your airbag working properly? The  American Avalanche Institute has a bunch of great blogs  to peruse as we await the white stuff.

Special Announcements

We will be updating this advisory page intermittently during November due to lack of snow cover. As soon as the snow flies in earnest we will begin issuing full advisories.  

For anyone getting around the mountains – please send us your observations!!  

Sat, November 9th, 2013
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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.
Sat, November 9th, 2013

With cool and mostly clear weather the last several days it finally looks like we have a shot of precip Sunday into Monday. A cold front will move through Alaska starting warm (Sun) and leaving cold (Mon). How much snow will we get at Turnagain? Well, it’s a bit too early to tell and it also depends on the flow direction – we are not set up that well with this system. However, the models are showing around an inch of water, yet a bit more in favored areas like Hatcher Pass. This equates to roughly a foot at the high elevations and a couple inches of wet snow over rain at sea level.

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.