Turnagain Pass RSS

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Sat, November 30th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Sun, December 1st, 2013 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

An overall  LOW  danger dominates Turnagain Pass.  The possible exception is areas with stiff wind slab near ridge tops where a strong wind has been blowing since Thursday.  The nature of our current snowpack is weak snow over weak snow, making avalanche activity difficult to initiate unless the surface snow is noticeably stiffer and denser.  

Special Announcements

All of Chugach National Forest remains closed to off-road motorized use due to a lack of sufficient snow cover.  Snowmachines will be permitted when the snow is deep enough to protect the ground underneath.

We need a couple more feet, give or take. Snow stake at Turnagain Pass shows one foot of snow.  

Sat, November 30th, 2013
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
  • 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

The general snowpack structure consists of a weak base with a slightly stronger (but still weak) upper layer of snow that fell last Thursday, Nov 21st.  The most concern can be found in areas that have been wind loaded in the last couple days, with a stiff and cohesive wind slab.  There is still some evidence visible from natural avalanche activity caused by the wind.  All avalanche activity that we have seen in the last 2 days has followed this pattern.

Leeward facing slopes, which are predominately southeast and east faces but may include other aspects, are the primary concern today.  The thin and shallow snowpack makes all avalanche activity low volume, but exposed rocks and trees create an additional hazard that we don’t experience most of the winter.   

Check out Wendy’s observation from Thursday with more pictures of some of that wind loading action. 

Sat, November 30th, 2013

Clear and cold weather persists across the region.  Temperatures this morning hover around zero F.  A few weather stations are reading higher, and a few are reading lower.  Wind at the ridgetops is expected to remain 15-30mph from the North.  

This pattern is expected to to stay with us through the weekend.  A warming trend is forecasted to start on Sunday with precipitation (hopefully) by Tuesday.

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.