Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Wed, March 16th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Thu, March 17th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Heightened avalanche conditions exist below about 3,000′ where the avalanche danger is  MODERATE.   Glide cracks have been very active this week, producing large and destructive avalanches in mid-elevation terrain and some have run into low elevation snow free zones. In areas not affected by glide cracks (above ~3,000′) there is a generally  LOW  avalanche danger.  Watch for changing conditions as the weather pattern shifts.

*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don’t forget to check  Summit Lake Summary  here.

Special Announcements

Using Spring Break as a time to decide what to do with your PFD?  Remember The Friends of the CNFAIC is part of  PICK.CLICK.GIVE. Your donations are greatly appreciated and integral to making the CNFAIC possible and sustainable.    Be part of the ‘Movement’! Thank you for your support!

Making plans for Arctic Man 2016? Don’t forget your beacon, shovel and probe! CNFAIC will be there all week and offering two FREE companion rescue workshops. Click HERE for more info. We hope to see you there!

Wed, March 16th, 2016
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
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

Yesterday was again an active one for glides with new glide avalanches being observed throughout the day. As noted in the advisory yesterday it is getting harder to keep tabs on what is new and what is from the previous day. Luckily we have some terrific observers and photo records to help document the progression. In discussions with long time snow professionals they have all remarked that there is a very unusual glide problem this winter, with the past 10 days being one of most active cycles they can ever remember. Glide cracks threaten a lot of prime ski and snowmachine terrain in the mid-elevations (1,000-3,000’).  Keep in mind the debris from these can run into snow free areas and threaten some summer trails, especially around Girdwood Valley and Portage.

As long as glide cracks continue to open up, move and release, we will stress the importance of avoidance, which is THE ONLY WAY TO MANAGE THIS AVALANCHE PROBLEM.  Remember these are totally unpredictable, release naturally and could be deadly if you were to get caught-up in that amount of snow. It is the entire winter snowpack releasing at the ground. 

Penguin Ridge glide avalanche progression from 7 pm on Monday, 9 am Tuesday and 1:30 pm Tuesday. Photos: Tim Glassett


Avalanche Problem 2
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

It has been a quiet few days in the Alpine with no reported human triggered avalanches since the weekend. Today a weak storm system will be affecting the region. This is not forecasted to produce much precipitation or be particularly windy. If conditions change more rapidly than expected the hazard could rise. As new snow falls observe how well it bonds to the surfaces below. Practice safe travel protocol and avoid multiple skiers or riders in avalanche terrain simultaneously.  Pay attention to your surroundings and adjacent parties.  Remember you may find one of these avalanche problems listed below and choose your terrain wisely.

Cornice fall: Very large cornice features loom over many ridgeline and have a tendency to break further back than expected. Give them lots of space, and limit exposure time under them. 

Loose snow: Sluffs are fast moving and will be proportional to the slope you are on today.  Big terrain will yield big sluffs, particularly on cooler, drier northerly aspects.  On slopes with a southern tilt, wet loose avalanches could be initiated later in the day if we get windows of sunshine.  The biggest threat with both of these is the potential to get knocked off your feet in steep, committing terrain. 

Wind slabs – On shaded aspects in very steep terrain it is still possible to find an old isolated wind slab. We saw several of these in the 8-12” range on Saturday and Sunday relegated to very steep (45 degrees or greater), unsupported terrain. 

Wed, March 16th, 2016

Yesterday was mostly overcast with a mixture of clouds and sun. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs to high 30Fs and winds were light and easterly.  

Today will be mostly cloudy with scattered rain and snow showers throughout the day. 1-5″ of snow is forecasted to fall above 1100′. Winds will be southerly 5-15 mph with locally higher gusts.  

The cloudy skies and rain and snow showers are expected to continue until mid-day Friday with a small break and another system moving in for the weekend.  

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 32   1   .1   134  
Summit Lake (1400′) 33 0  0  42
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 32 1 .06 107  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 24    E  6 16  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 25  ESE 11   20
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.