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Fri, December 6th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Sat, December 7th, 2013 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The general avalanche hazard is LOW today.   Avalanches are unlikely at all elevations.   The snowpack consists of mostly weak snow.   Small amounts of freezing rain and mild temperatures have had minimal impact on overall stability.

Special Announcements

Please join us for the next installment of our FREE Fireside Chat series, €œHuman Factors in the Backcountry €   Tuesday December 10th at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood.   More details can be found by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ tab above.

Fri, December 6th, 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
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

The main concerns today are more associated with mountain travel than with avalanches.  A weak, shallow and thin snowpack warrants caution as rocks and stumps can be found everywhere.  In the higher elevations snow densities are inconsistent resulting in pockets of stiff snow in an otherwise soft and loose snowpack.  A slick crust will form as temps begin to cool slightly in the next day.  This will make travel challenging in many areas.  If you head into the mountains today pay attention to these real hazards.

After roughly a week of clear weather the snowpack has shown signs of weakening (faceting).  Beginning on 12/4 warm moist air started saturating the top layer of the snowpack.  While this has weakened the snow surface, it has not been wet or warm enough to de stabilize the snowpack.  We will be paying close attention to this new snow surface as it forms.  It will be important to note if there is still weak snow below it (likely) as well as what falls on top of it with the next storm system.

Fri, December 6th, 2013

Warm air aloft has been trying to run over an established ridge of high pressure that is sitting to our east and north.   This has resulted in freezing rain up to ridge top levels.   Mountain temperatures have been hovering around freezing for the past 24 hours with latest readings of 29 F at Sunburst and 32 F on Seattle ridge.   Winds at the Seattle ridge station have averaged in the teens and have been lesser at Sunburst.

Today expect cloudy skies and occasional light precipitation, primarily in the form of rain and freezing rain.   Temperatures will remain mild and winds will be light out of the South.

High pressure will re establish itself over South Central AK as we head into the weekend.   Expect drier conditions, clearing skies and mild temps through the weekend.

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.