Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Thursday, March 27th 2014 7:00 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Low avalanche danger and severe clear weather continues.  We have no recent reports of avalanche activity, and people are traveling everywhere across our zone.  

Normal caution means we still maintain a certain amount of respect for the mountains and the snowpack.  Problems can be found if you look hard enough, but with good decision making you can get away with a lot right now.

Sunny south aspects are getting crusted over by daytime melting and nighttime freezing.  North aspects are still cold, east and west are also generally crust free.  Soft snow can be found in some places but not likely on south until possibly late in the day.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Special Announcement

For anyone headed out for a "super tour" or long snowmachine ride, consider tracking your day and sending it to the University of Montana to aid in avalanche research. Participation is simple and anyone with a GPS or smartphone can contribute. Go to for more information on this project!

Avalanche Problem 1

The biggest problems we've had recently are related to people traveling in steep terrain - but not from an unstable snowpack.  We've had 2 helicopter rescues recently.  The first one was a traumatic fall, read their account HERE.  The second happened yesterday when a group had problems descending Wolverine peak.  They called for help, spent the night out on the mountain, and got picked up by an Air National Guard helicopter yesterday morning.  This is a good reminder to be prepared for all the mountain hazards.  Sometimes crampons, ice axe, a rope and the mountaineering training to use them are warranted in our bigger mountain terrain.

Stability problems to look out for today:

Overhanging cornice features are unlikely to fall spontaneously, unless the temperatures really ramp up today.  They may fail if you add some weight and stress by walking/skiing/riding over them.  The first rule of cornices is to give them space.

Wet Loose avalanches:
We have yet to see much of this type of activity, but it is coming with longer and warmer days.  Keep it in mind on south facing aspects late in the day.

Old Wind Slabs:
Stiff snow is likely to be bonded well to the layers underneath.  However, be prepared for small plates to break off in steep terrain.  This isn't really a burial hazard, but rather a "knock you off your feet" kind of hazard, which could be dangerous in high consequence terrain.


Mountain Weather

It's been more than a week and a half since the last snow storm.  

Look for mostly sunny skies again today.  Wind has been negligible the last several days, and will continue that way.  Temperatures are going through the standard early spring diurnal fluctuations - cold at night and warm during the day.  Daytime temperatures are reaching the high 30s.  

The longterm weather outlook looks like more of the same.  Party sunny to mostly sunny skies can be expected until we get a major pattern change.

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: May 06, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of 5/6. Thanks for a great season all, see you next winter!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3.22.19 due to lack of snow
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19 due to lack of snow
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClose as of 5.1.2019
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Summit Lake: Closed

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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
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