Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, March 28th 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

No news is good news.  Our current stretch of clear weather is reaching 2 weeks, and we haven't had reports of significant avalanche activity since the end of that last storm.  

LOW avalanche danger continues across the region.  The mountains are getting tracked up in this extended stretch without snowfall.  Steep terrain is getting tested extensively on a daily basis, without triggering avalanches.

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.
Avalanche Problem 1

If we sound a bit like a broken record, it's because conditions are not changing much day to day.  Stability remains very good.  Snow quality is variable with some good skiing and riding still to be found.  

The most likely mountain hazard right now seems to be unrelated to avalanches or snow stability.  2 helicopter rescues in the last week underscore the hostility of steep terrain even in perfect March weather.  This is a good reminder to be prepared and don't let your guard down, especially when stepping it up to the big mountain steeps.  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

The last storm ended on Friday 2 weeks ago.  

Skies look clear again today.  Wind will continue to be light.  Temperatures are freezing hard at night with lows into the teens or lower in some areas.  Daytime temperatures are reaching into the high 30s or more by afternoon.  The graph is the diurnal temperature fluctuation at Summit Lake from the last several days.


Weather through the weekend looks like a continuation of our current pattern.  There is a hinting of a pattern change in the longterm forecast, which may mean more clouds and possible precipitation next week.


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.

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