Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, April 7th 2014 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is generally LOW.  Low volume wet loose avalanches and cornices are potential snowpack issues to deal with today.  

Both of these problems are avoidable by utilizing some practical travel tactics:
Paying attention to the snow on the surface and getting off of steep terrain as the snow becomes damp will help to minimize sluffing and loose snow avalanches.  Steering clear of cornices from above and below is the best way to avoid being in the line of fire of these massive blocks of snow.

 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

Over the weekend North aspects saw some natural activity in the form of wet loose snow avalanches.  Surface snow that had become weak during the long dry spell of mid to late March heated up for the first time from a combination of mild temps and cloud cover.  While this activity is on the decline there is still a slight chance for this to occur.  This is a potential issue that exists in isolated pockets, primarily on higher elevation North facing slopes.  The surface snow on all other aspects is currently either damp or refrozen.  A cooling trend in temps overnight have helped to solidify the surface snow.  Today the mercury will climb back into the low 40s F at 1,000’.  While this will weaken the snow on the surface, the effects will be minimal.  Be on the lookout for very low volume wet loose avalanches on very steep lower elevation slopes in addition to steep North facing higher elevation terrain.

Avalanche Problem 2

Cornices have grown mature throughout the season.  Many higher elevation slopes have these giants looming above them.  Warming temps combined with direct sunlight will help to destabilize these features.  Keep your distance from cornices today.  They are unpredictable and deserve your respect.

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours a trace of new snow has fallen above 2,000’.  Ridge top temperatures averaged in the low to mid 20s F.  The Center Ridge SNOTEL station at 1,880’ averaged in the low 30s F with a max reading of 41 degrees.  Winds have been light with the Sunburst station averaging 5 mph out of the East, with a max gust of 18 mph.

Today expect cloudy skies with occasional clearing.  Very light intermittent snow and rain showers can be expected with rain/snow line hovering around 1,000’.  Winds will pick up into the 15-20 mph range out of the Northwest.  Temperatures at 1,000’ will climb back up into the low 40s F.

A chance for continued light snow and rain will continue through Tuesday.  By midweek a ridge of High pressure will develop over the area bringing with it sunshine and mild temperatures.

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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