Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Fri, December 20th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Sat, December 21st, 2013 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The general avalanche hazard is MODERATE today, with isolated areas of CONSIDERABLE hazard.   Steep wind loaded slopes in upper elevation starting zones will have the most reactive snow today.   It will be possible to find slabs up to 16 € in depth in these areas.   In the lower elevations it will also be possible to find shallow pockets of reactive slabs that are sitting on weak snow.

Special Announcements

Motorized access at Turnagain Pass and Johnson Pass open today.   Placer, Skookum, and Twentymile drainages remain closed.   Check the bottom of this page for the most up to date information on riding area openings and conditions.

Fri, December 20th, 2013
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
2 - Moderate
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
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

Wind and snow that came as a result of a quick hitting storm on 12/18 have left stiff wind slabs in upper elevation starting zones.  Winds from this recent storm deposited slabs on generally West, Southwest and South facing slopes.  These slabs are “upside down” where the wind was most prevalent and are sitting on weak snow on top of a crust.  It has been 24 hours since this last storm abated.  As a result the snow will be less reactive today.  That does not mean that things have “healed”.  Given the general makeup of our snowpack, it will still be possible to trigger old wind slabs that are not well bonded to the underlying snow.

If you experience collapsing like we did yesterday, it will be worth scaling back your objectives and terrain choices.  Collapsing is one of three obvious signs of instability (the others are recent avalanches and shooting cracks).  When any one of these signs are present it is the snow telling you to “back off”.  Avoiding steep slopes with snow that sounds hollow or has a rounded, pillowy look to it will help in avoiding this problem today. 

Fri, December 20th, 2013

In the past 24 hours no new snow was reported.   Temperatures have risen overnight with increased cloud cover.   Ridge top temperatures are currently in the low 20s F.   Winds have been light out of the East and Southeast.

Today we can expect snow showers beginning in the morning and increasing late in the day into the overnight hours.   Accumulation of 1-2 € is possible by the end of the day.   Temperatures will continue a general upward trend and should remain in the mid to upper 20s F at ridge tops.   Winds will be light out of the Southwest.

A trough of low pressure in the Bering Sea will continue to send small shots of moisture in our direction into the weekend.   Continued light snow showers and rising temps are on tap for the next several days.

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
Riding Areas

The riding areas page has moved. Please click here & update your bookmarks.

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.