Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, April 20th 2014 5:47 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 remains LOW in the Turnagain Pass and surrounding regions. Low volume wet loose avalanches and cornice falls are the snowpack issues to be aware of today and into the early part of this week. 

**Remember, no forecast will be issued for Monday and Tuesday. The outlook at this time is for similar avalanche concerns as today. However, the threat for larger and more dangerous wet avalanches may go up if we continue to see above freezing ridgetop nighttime temperatures. More on this below.

 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
  • Mark your calendars!!  The 2014 Corn Harvest will be Saturday, April 26th at the Turnagain Pass Center Ridge parking lot. Come by for free food, games and fun!  More details HERE.

  • Turnagain Pass and Snug Harbor are the only remaining areas on the Chugach National Forest open to motorized use.  Check the bottom of the page for the latest updates on motorized access.
  • Advisories will be issued 5 days per week - Wednesday to Sunday - through April 27th.

Avalanche Problem 1

It has been almost a week now since we have heard of, or seen, any 'slab' avalanche activity. There has been a handful of wet loose snow avalanches mainly associated with the 2-3" of snow from Friday. Yet, the snowfall (and related sluffing) was relegated to areas close to Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley. The snowpack continues to show signs of handling the spring-time warm conditions with good stability. 

For today, and the early part of this week, our main snowpack concerns continue to be wet loose avalanches and cornice falls. Although the wind will pick up from the East, there is little to no snow available for transport and the wind will likely be just an inconvenience.

Wet Loose Avalanches:
It will be possible to trigger wet sluffs in very steep terrain with surface warming - slopes over 40 degrees, either in the lower elevations or on sunlit aspects in the higher elevations. The volume of any potential sluff will likely be low and slow moving.  

We have yet to see any significant cornice falls in the area. Despite this, it is still worth being aware of and staying away from them. Know where you are in relation to cornices and always hedge your bets by giving them a wide berth. Warm temperatures and sunshine will help to destabilize cornices.

Overnight Ridgetop Temperatures:
Last night was the warmest night we have seen this spring. Ridgetop temperatures remained at, or very near, 32deg (they have been dropping to the mid 20'sF until now). These warm overnight temperatures are something avalanche practitioners pay close attention to in the spring. After 3 consecutive nights where ridgetops are above freezing, the snowpack can begin to melt-down, or shed. In this case large and destructive wet avalanches, which can run to valley bottoms, become a real concern. Our snowpack this spring has undergone so much melt and freeze (remember January?) that how it will react to future warm nights is uncertain. We may simply see the pack melt out with minor wet avalanche activity, which is likely the case, but not something to bet on AT ALL as we enter into the warmer days of late April and May. Keeping an eye on the upper elevation temperature trends, cloud cover and any overnight re-freeze of the surface will be good things to watch. Additionally, being mindful of terrain above you late in the day is key in the event a large natural slide releases and runs to lower angle terrain or a drainage bottom.

Mountain Weather

During the past 24-hours we have seen partly to mostly sunny skies and temperatures averaging ~30F. Winds have been light and variable. Overnight, temperatures have remained warm - above freezing at 2,500' and just dipping slightly below 32F at 4,000'.

For today, we will have sunny skies with clouds streaming in from the East later in the day as a weak low pressure spins to our South. Temperatures look to climb as high as the mid 30'sF on the ridgelines and 50F at 1,000'. Winds are forecast to pick up to 25-30mph on the peaks from the East. There is a chance we could see a trace of rain below 2,000' this afternoon and snow above this.

Looking forward to Monday and Tuesday, the high pressure over mainland Alaska looks to become more established and sunny skies with warm temperatures are in store. Our pleasant spring continues!


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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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