Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   CNFAIC Staff  
Sunday, November 29th 2015
Created: Nov 29th 5:12 am
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
Alyeska Resort
Special Announcement

Outside of advisory area AVALANCHE CONDITIONS update:

Due to avalanche danger and on going search and rescue efforts the East Hatcher Pass Management Area is closed to public use until further notice. For current information visit DNR Newsroom and

The search for a missing skier in Hatcher pass continues today. Click HERE for latest media release from the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center. Click HERE for yesterday's article in Alaska Dispatch News. Our thoughts are with the friends and family.

We have received a few observations for the Anchorage Front Range in the last two days, including an avalanche that ran over a popular hiking trail. Click here for the recent observations.

The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE in the Alpine elevations today. The recent series of storms has added 1-3' of snow and the sustained winds have loaded leeward slopes. Pockets of wind slab may be sensitive to human triggers in upper elevation starting zones today. Ease into steeper terrain, practice safe travel techniques and look for signs of instability,

The danger is MODERATE in the Treeline elevation band. The rain and warm temperatures have left the snowpack moist and unsupportable at mid-elevations. There is the possibility of triggering a wet loose avalanche in steep terrain where the snowpack remains saturated. If the temperatures dip below freezing and a supportable surface crust exists the hazard will be LOW.

Below Treeline (1,000’) there is not enough snow coverage to warrant a danger rating.

Primary Concern

The combination of wind and new snow in the Alpine over the past few days has created potential for wind slabs on steep leeward slopes. Slabs could be 1-4' thick. Look for recent evidence of loading in the terrain. Cornice formation and scalloped or pillowed snow are good indications of deposition. Watch for cracking and collapsing under the weight of your skis or snowboard. Listen for hollow sounds and whumpfing.

** We are still concerned with a layer of weak faceted snow that formed during the colder temps in early November. These facets exist in many areas at the base of the snowpack but we have not seen evidence that they are reactive. We have limited information about the overall distribution of this layer in the Alpine and continue to be suspect of it lurking below the recent storms. 

Photo below is an image of the cross loading on the SE face of Seattle Ridge.

Secondary Concern

The snowpack received rain up to 2500' in the last series of storms. Temperatures in the Alpine cooled off and created a rain crust. At Treeline and below in areas that have not frozen there remains the possibility for wet avalanches in steep terrain. Observers reported "mashed potato" snow conditions and boot penetration to the ground. Additional rain showers and temperatures above freezing at lower elevations today will continue to create a hazard where the snow remains saturated. If the temperatures drop the danger will be LOW. Watch for new roller balls, wet punchy "trap door" snow and "push-a-lanches" starting at your skis or snowboard.

Yesterday observers reported rain runnels and roller balls up to 2500'.

Photo: Runnels on the Tincan uptrack. Credit: Ted Grosgebauer


Mountain Weather

Rain and snow showers will continue in the region today. Some areas will see clearing skies. This system will dissipate as a ridge builds over Southcentral ahead of the next front appproaching from the Southwest. Temperatures will remain in the 30's today and it is forecasted to gradually cool over the next few days. Winds will be light and Easterly. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 32  .2  NA 
Summit Lake (1400') 32  0  0  9
Alyeska Mid (1700') 33   .35 16 


RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 25   ENE 17  46 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 27  NA NA  NA 

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).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Nov 27, 2015 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedBuilding our base - a WET 18". Reference the DOT Turnagain Pass RWIS web cam for current image of Turnagain pass snowstake.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: Closed
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
© 2015 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
If you think a public avalanche
center is important then we urge
you to become a member & donate.


By clicking the links below, the companies will donate a portion of your purchase price to the Friends of CNFAIC. Click here for more deals