CNFAIC LogoCNFAIC Logo

Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Monday, March 31st 2014
Created: Mar 31st 6:40 am
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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
Special Announcement

2014 PFD filing season ends TODAY. Don't forget to Pick. Click. Give to your favorite AK non-profits! If you've already filed, you can still log-in and add or modify a donation! Lovalaska and Love your Avalanche Center!!


The Bottom Line

With no substantial change in the weather again today the avalanche danger will continue to be pegged at LOW for all aspects and elevations in the advisory area.

Beyond your standard safe backcountry travel protocol, cornice failure and low volume loose snow avalanches will again be the primary concerns for today.


Primary Concern

It’s been 16 days now since the climax of our March avalanche cycle where up to 5 feet of snow fell across the zone in a 5-day period.  The weak layers underlying that slab have since adjusted to the load and we’ve experienced exceptional stability as of late throughout the core advisory area.  That being said, there are still a few springtime concerns that garner attention.

Cornices:

A cornice failure is - by far - the most dangerous avalanche problem in the backcountry currently. Cornice falls are very hard to predict but we do know they are more likely to fail as the day heats up.  During this extended high pressure, with warm daytime temps and light winds, large overhanging cornices will continue to ripen toward likely failure.  As always, minimize your time spent underneath or near corniced ridges by giving them an extra wide berth when travelling below or ridge-walking.


Secondary Concern

Surface snow on non-solar aspects continues to facet and rot-out.  This is making for great surface conditions on north aspects considering it hasn’t snowed in well over two-weeks.  Sluffing may prove a concern in steep, high consequence terrain for knocking a skier or boarder off their feet.  This is less of a concern if you’ve got a motor underneath you, as any snow moving will be low volume.

On steep solar aspects a skier or rider may be able to initiate a wet snow slide as these slopes heat up late in the day.  Once again these will be low in volume but potentially dangerous in high consequence terrain such as above a terrain trap

“Heads Up” conditions in steep terrain:
There are plenty of steep slopes with firm surfaces that require a healthy amount of careful and focused travel.  A fall in steep terrain could result in loss of control of a snowmachine or be difficult for skiers or snowboarders to arrest.  Pay attention to the snow surface and continually assess and re-assess as you travel through the mountains today.


Mountain Weather

Abundant sunshine and comfortable temperatures seem to be the norm for us here in south central AK this March.  Let’s hope we are this lucky in June, July and August!  Ridgetop winds kicked up slightly yesterday from the northwest though not quite enough to make snow transport a concern.  At lower elevations along Turnagain Arm, local gap winds were observed with a peak gust of 50mph in Whittier.  Temperatures were pleasant again reaching into the mid-30’s at 1,000’.

We have a similar day on tap today with temps topping out in the mid-30’s again and a northwest wind in the 0-10mph range.  Persistent sunshine continues as the blocking high-pressure ridge over central Alaska endures, keeping the Aleutian low to our west at bay (see below).  Look for the March weather summary in Wendy’s forecast tomorrow morning.

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: Mar 15, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: OpenSkookum drainage closes to motorized use on April 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: Open
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
© 2017 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
FCNFAIC