Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, April 5th 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

Change is finally happening.  A small amount of snow is expected to fall above 1300 feet today.  At current snowfall predictions I do not expect the avalanche danger rating to rise.  However, if snow comes in deeper than predicted, watch for touchy wind slabs on top of the old tired surface.  

The overall danger rating is LOW this morning, but new snow will probably make that rise to pockets of MODERATE above treeline by tomorrow.  

 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

It looks like another day of normal caution, with a couple extra thoughts regarding accumulating snow.  Any avalanche activity today will be shallow, no deeper than the surface snow that we've been on for the last 3 weeks.

If snowfall today is 4 inches or less as predicted, the worst avalanche problems should be very small and manageable - not really a danger, but something to watch.  If more than 6 inches falls today, wind slabs could reach 1 foot deep and will be poorly bonded to the surface underneath - these could be a game changer in steep terrain and not something you want to mess with.  

As we all hope for another good winter storm, we can't forget about the old surface conditions that make up the new interface of concern in the snowpack.  South faces have been baking in the sun for the last 3 weeks, and freezing up hard at night.  North faces have been faceting out into unconsolidated sugar snow.  Surface hoar is present nearly everywhere we've looked the last few days.  All of these components will be difficult for new snow to bond to, making for potentially unstable conditions when the new snow becomes deep enough.

Avalanche Problem 2

The old cornice problem is still present.  As always, give the mature overhanging cornices a wide berth when traveling on ridge tops.  With new snow and wind, cornices will be growing again for the next few days.  

Mountain Weather

Temperatures moderated just a bit yesterday, with slightly higher lows and lower highs.  Winds have increased.  A tiny bit of snow started falling yesterday, but no more than an inch.

For today the snow amount is predicted to be 1-4 inches, with a snow/rain line at 1300 feet.  Look for a southeast wind of 16-32mph.  

The outlook through Sunday looks like more of the same.  The precipitation intensity is not expected to be very significant.  With a few days of snow showers we might see enough accumulation to change surface conditions for the better and produce some small avalanche activity.  


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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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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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