Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, April 13th 2014 7:00 am by Graham Predeger
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The SE winds that kicked up yesterday combined with a few inches of snow on tap for today will peg the avalanche danger at MODERATE above treeline where tender wind slabs will be found in the 12-18” range.  A secondary concern and something to be mindful of as spring grips our region are the looming cornices that have grown heavy and ominous.  Below treeline the danger is LOW where snow coverage is thin.

 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.
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

Today will conclude 7 day per week forecasting for the 2013/14 season.  Updates will be 5-days/ week through the end of April.  Please continue to follow the website and submit your snowpack and avalanche observations as we transition toward a summer snowpack.

Avalanche Problem 1

We were able to eek out a few solid days of blue-sky powder skiing (on northerly aspects) before the grey-bird conditions set in yesterday bringing with it moderate winds from the SE.  Winds yesterday began to build shallow wind slabs in the upper elevations where about 6” of loose, unconsolidated snow was available for transport on north aspects. 

                            Loose, unconsolidated snow on a north aspect
                            yesterday will feed building wind slabs today.

SE winds in the 40-55 mph range and 1-5” of new snow forecasted for today will conspire to manufacture tender wind slabs across the advisory area.  Expect bonding to be a mixed bag from ‘stuck-on-like-glue’ to ‘hair-trigger’ given the huge variety of surface conditions that this storm is coming in on.  Any moving snow today should be fairly shallow, relegated to the upper-most layer of new wind deposited snow and likely less of a concern for snowmachiners.  For skiers, quick hand pits and test slopes today should aid in your decision-making process before committing to any big terrain.  

Avalanche Problem 2

A bit of fresh snow and substantial wind transport will conspire to push looming cornices ever closer to failure.  Without ever really knowing when a cornice may fail it still holds true to simply avoid exposure to these ticking snow-bombs.  This observation (and photo) sent in last spring serves as a good reminder that spring in the Chugach is cornice season!

Mountain Weather

Moderate winds and clouds yesterday dominated the weather across the forecast area with little to no precipitation during the daylight hours.

Grey skies and warmer air will persist as moderate SE winds ramp up throughout the day. We should see scattered and light precipitation in the form of light rain at sea level and 1-5” of new snow above 1100’.  Temps at 1000’ will be in the range of 31-40 degrees today.  Freezing levels drop to around 700’ at night as moisture tapers off.

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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