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Fri, November 14th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Sat, November 15th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Springtime in November?   Unseasonably warm temperatures continue to delay winter, but not necessarily avalanche season.

Avalanche activity over the past week has quieted down substantially during the past few days, however there are still a few things to be on the lookout for. First, Glide avalanches: Be aware of glide cracks and avoid being near or under them. Second, wet avalanches: Keep in mind wet sluffs could be initiated if you find yourself in snow that is soft and saturated.

*We will continue to post intermittent updates. Advisories are scheduled to begin Saturday, November 22nd.
For the most up to date information keep tabs on our observation page. Please, send us an observation if you are getting out this weekend!!

Special Announcements

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Bear Tooth last night and supported the CNFAIC at our annual Fundraiser!! It was a huge success and a lot of fun. Special thanks to Luc Mehl for his powerful presentation “Lust, Loss, and Things to Look At”.

Check out our calendar page for upcoming events!!

Fri, November 14th, 2014
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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

For anyone venturing to Turnagain Pass, it is clear there is not much snow below treeline and a lot of old avalanche activity above treeline. Although things have quieted down avalanche-wise, glide avalanches remain something to keep on your radar. These are simply unpredictable and destructive avalanches. The good thing is most of the time glides are preceded by a slowly opening crack and therefore easy to identify and avoid. Hence, be aware of glide cracks and avoid being under them.

Below is a photo of several glide cracks on the west nose of Eddies (popular ski/snowboard slope). This is just an example of how much glide activity is present right now. This photo is from 5 days ago and some have released but many are still in wait.

Matt Murphy photo from Nov 9th.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
More info at Avalanche.org

With persistent warm temperatures, including a spike on Thursday (chart below), the snowpack could be fairly wet near treeline. The clear skies are likely freezing the surface to some degree but there also could be areas where the snow remains soft. Triggering a wet loose slide into a terrain trap comes to mind as something to be aware of in soft saturated snow.

Check out the warm ridgetop temperatures at the Sunburst weather station (3812′) below. And, two days ago on Nov 11th the Girdwood Yard station in Old Girdwood recorded a record high temperature for November: 50F!

Fri, November 14th, 2014

After a 10-day long bout of warm, wet and windy weather, the wet and windy parts have moved west but the warm remains. For the next week or so a complex set of low pressure systems will spin to our south and continue to pump warm air our way. Sunday and mid-week there may be some moisture associated with the southerly flow, but all in all, winter remains on the horizon.

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.