Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Tuesday, April 1st 2014 7:00 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains at LOW at all elevations and on all aspects with our continued mild weather conditions. Cornice failure and dry loose snow sluffs on shady aspects remain the main issues for backcountry travelers.

 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 those attending Arctic Man this year the CNFAIC will be there! We will be hosting an Avalanche Rescue Workshop on Thursday, April 10th. Details HERE - sign up soon as space is limited!!  

Avalanche Problem 1

We end Marvelous March and begin Amazing April with the 16th day in a row of sunny and beautiful weather. There are light and variable winds on tap and coupled with 13 hours 24 minutes of sunshine, we can expect some surface warming on slopes with a Southerly tilt. Many of these slopes have large looming cornices that will be baking in the sun again today. We have not seen many cornice falls recently but due to their unpredictable nature, they are good to avoid regardless. Additionally, as with all mountain travel in the spring-time, being aware of what is above you is essential, especially when daytime warming loosens the snow and rocks up.

Below is a photo Graham took yesterday of a corniced ridgeline near Bear Valley/Portage area. Graham also noted what looked to be a 'semi' fresh avalanche in the Bear Valley area - thought to be triggered by ice fall. See more on that and his write-up HERE.

Avalanche Problem 2

Though some may think it's a fool's errand to be looking for powder right now, the fact is shaded areas continue to sport good riding conditions. Each day under these clear skies the surface continues to facet and become looser. On many shady slopes there is between 2 and 6" of 're-cycled powder', so to speak. If the slope is steep enough however, triggering low volume sluffs in this loose snow is fairly easy - it seems the slope has be over 40 degrees.

Southerly slopes are heating up just enough to soften for a few hours in the late afternoon, but hit these at the wrong time and it's survival travel - at best. We have not heard of, or seen, any wet sluffs on these aspects recently. Yet, it is always something to keep in mind if you find yourself on a steep sunny slope with several inches of wet and sloppy snow.

'Re-cycled' or 'Re-crystallized' powder on Northerly aspects:

Mountain Weather

During the past 24-hours skies have been clear and temperatures have averaged in the mid-20'sF at the higher elevations. Winds have been light from the West and North in the 5mph range and are dying off this morning.

For today, it should feel quite warm out there with the increasing sunshine. Ridge top winds are expected to be light and variable - even on the highest peaks. Temperatures that have cooled to the low teens at the valley bottoms should climb to the low 30'sF during the day while the ridge tops will remain in the mid-20'sF.

For tomorrow, another carbon copy sunny day. Yet, for the weekend the large scale pattern is shifting slightly. The blocking high over us currently looks like it might migrate East and put Southcentral a bit more in the line of fire for some precipitation (at the very least, cloud cover...). Stay tuned.


March Recap:  In like a lamb, teased by a lion, then out like a lamb...

Well, March ended up being fairly uncomplicated weather wise. The Monthly weather chart says it all. After 9 days of clear and cold conditions Winter Part III arrived with a one week storm cycle that put down 5' of heavy snow (5+" water). As one would expect, a healthy avalanche cycle ensued and then from March 17 to the 31st not a hint of precip was seen. There are many tan faces littering the mountains attesting to the last 15 days of bluebird weather!

Snowpack: As of April 1st we are at 52% of our median SWE (snow water equivalent).


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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