Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, April 6th 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 has risen to MODERATE above and below treeline for wet loose snow avalanches. Recent cloud cover and warming temperatures have softened the top several inches of the snow cover. Steep Northerly aspects that harbored loose dry snow a couple days ago will be the most likely place for human triggered and natural wet loose avalanches to run. The potential for cornice falls has increased as well due to the recent warming.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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

Yesterday marked the first real change in weather since mid-March. For the past 48-hours cloud cover and warmer temperatures have been baking the snow surface - both day and night. There were a handful of natural wet loose avalanches reported in steep North facing terrain in the Girdwood Valley yesterday. Some of these were reported to have been large enough to injure or bury a person. With last night's slightly warmer temperatures leading into another warm cloudy (and drizzly) day today, expect to see similar wet activity.

The most likely aspects for wet slides will be terrain with a Northerly tilt. These slopes which had 2-8" of dry faceted snow just a couple days ago are now becoming damp to wet and losing stability. These aspects have not undergone a melt/freeze cycle like the Southerlies and therefore should sluff easily for the next day or two, or until skies clear or the temperature cools. Below 1,500' the snowpack is downright soggy and unsupportable on all aspects. Watch for wet loose avalanches on steep lower elevation slopes.

Though it looks like tomorrow or tomorrow night will be our best chance for a decent shot of snow (maybe...), below is a clip on how the snow surface and snowpack are holding up.

Avalanche Problem 2

The warming we have seen during the past two days has far surpassed that of the last 3 weeks. This is a prime de-stabilizing factor for cornices which are still looming, very unpredictable and dangerous. Continued avoidance will be especially good both from above and below.

Mountain Weather

During the past 24-hours we have seen overcast skies and temperatures in the 35-45F range below treeline and ~25-30F at the ridge tops. Light rain has been falling below 1,000' with light snow above - only a trace of snow has accumulated. Ridge top winds have averaged ~10mph with gusts to 20mph from the East.

Today should be another overcast day with light precipitation. We may see 2-3" in 'favorable locations' above treeline (Portage Valley for instance) but for the Pass it looks to be just another dusting. The rain/snow line is expected to creep up to 1,500' as temperatures will climb to the mid 40'sF at sea level and up to 30F on the ridgelines. Ridge top winds will be from an Easterly direction around 10mph with higher gusts.

It looks like sometime Monday or Monday night colder air will drop down from the North and combine with the large scale trough that is over us now to support a chance for increased precipitation (several inches of snow). Stay tuned.


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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