Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, April 18th 2014 6:35 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

There is a generally LOW avalanche danger today both above and below treeline. Although triggering an avalanche is unlikely in our well seasoned spring-time snowpack, cornice failures, wet loose avalanches in very steep terrain and shallow wind slabs above 3,000' in elevation should remain on the radar.

 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

Avalanche advisories will be issued 5 days per week - Wednesday through Sunday - until April 27th.

Avalanche Problem 1

With overnight temperatures cooling along with a slight increase in Easterly wind, the soft and saturated surface from yesterday has likely undergone a superficial re-freeze. This will mainly be the case above treeline while below treeline increased cloud cover is expected to have kept the surface wet and unsupportable. In general, the snowpack has been through many melt/freeze cycles and has seasoned to our warm spring-time temperatures. We have yet to see any significant wet avalanche activity, but we also have yet to see an extended significant day/night warm up. For anyone traveling in the mountains today, the two main avalanche concerns to keep in mind are:

Wet loose point release avalanches:
In very steep terrain (40+ degrees) wet loose snow sluffs will be possible to initiate where the surface has melted, lost its strength and is composed of several inches or more of wet and sloppy snow.

Wind slabs (above 3,000'):
Though the wind is forecast to blow in the 15-25mph range from the East, there is a lack of dry snow available for transport. The exception will be at the highest elevations - above 3,000' - where shallow winds slabs may form with any new snow today (1-2" forecast) or preexisting snow soft enough to be drifted.

Cornice failure:
Many cornices are still hanging on to the Ridgelines. Though there has been little in way of cornice falls this season, they are nothing to mess with and continuing to steer clear of these on the ridgelines as well as from below is prudent.

Photo below - cornices along the Seattle Ridgeline.


Mountain Weather

Yesterday we saw a return to mostly sunny skies and very warm temperatures. The Center Ridge SNOTEL at 1880' got as warm as 50F yesterday while 24-hour ridgetop temperatures averaged near 30F. Winds were light and variable. Cumulus clouds were bubbling up over Pastoral Peak - a sure sign of spring.

Today, mostly cloudy skies and wet conditions have moved back in associated with a series of disturbances along North Prince William Sound. Scattered showers bringing .1-.2" of rain is forecast below 1,000' and 1-2" of wet snow above. Temperatures will rise to near 40F at 1,000' and 30F on the Ridges. Ridgetop winds are expected to be between 15-25mph from the East.

The weak systems over us today will move out and sunny skies are in store for the weekend as a brief high pressure builds in above the large low pressure sitting to our South. Early next week models are showing a return to cloudy, warm and drizzly conditions.


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: Mar 15, 2018 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: OpenPlease avoid private property and AKRR job site at Luebner Lake. Cross railroad tracks if needed, do not ride down tracks, it is illegal.
Skookum Drainage: OpenCross railroad tracks if needed, do not ride down tracks, it is illegal. FYI, Skookum drainage closes to Snowmachines on 4/1 as per the Chugach NF plan.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: OpenCross railroad tracks at designated spot as you leave the parking area.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: Open
Primrose Trail: Open
Resurrection Pass Trail: OpenResurrection Pass trail is open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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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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