Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, November 30th 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 remains generally LOW in the Alpine and Treeline elevations. Pockets of MODERATE danger are possible at the upper elevation ridgelines due to an increase in Northwesterly winds overnight which may have formed wind slabs 4-8" thick. Watch for these on predominantly East and South aspects (For example: the East face of Seattle Ridge).

Below treeline there is only a dusting of 2-3" of snow covering the ground and no rating exists. Early season hazards remain, such as rocks, stumps and glide cracks (these will be more obscured today by the new snow from yesterday).

The next advisory will be Tuesday, December 2nd at 7am.

Avalanche Outlook for tomorrow, Monday December 1st: Increasing avalanche danger possible by late Monday.
Early Monday morning another winter storm will start streaming into Southcentral Alaska. There is 1-3" of snow expected Monday with light to moderate Easterly winds which will keep the danger generally LOW for the daylight hours. Avalanche danger is expected to increase Monday night into Tuesday with continued snowfall and wind.

 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.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement

Our first, in a series of four, Frireside Chats begins Thursday December 4th! These will be held in both Girdwood and Anchorage. Thursday night's Chat will be at 6:30pm at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood. The topic will be - Intro to Avalanches: Terrain and route finding, presented by CNFAIC forecaster John Fitzgerald. Mark your calendar!

Avalanche Problem 1

It was a welcome sight for many yesterday to see snow falling across most of Southcentral Alaska! Turnagain Pass picked up 3-4" of low density snow with very little wind and no avalanche activity was seen or reported. Today, we should be greeted with mostly clear skies and chilly temperatures, in the teens. The wind, however, is a bit of a wild card.

Overnight the ridgetop Northwesterly winds bumped up to averages in the teens with gusts to 25-33mph. This doesn't sound like a whole lot of wind, but with 6-10" of light snow on the surface, it could have easily blown this snow into drifts and slabs. If you are getting out today into the upper elevations watch for areas with stiff wind deposited snow. Is the snow cracking around you? Does it feel stiff and hollow? Quick hand pits to check for harder snow over softer snow in the top foot of the snowpack are also good ways to look for wind slabs.

Sluffing in the top 3-6" of loose snow is possible on steep, >40 degree, slopes.

Keep in mind that hazards due to low snow cover (rocks, alders, etc.) remain a concern and they could be harder to see with the new snow.

Photo below: One of countless glide cracks on the slopes of the popular Tincan Trees. These are opening up a little more each day.

Mountain Weather

A quick moving disturbance passed by yesterday blanketing the mountains with 3-4" of low density snow. The snow came in with ridgetop winds from the Northwest 5-10mph. Overnight, skies have cleared and temperatures have dropped to the teens F. The Northwesterly winds increased early this morning to 10-15mph with gusts to 33mph yet have died back down.

Today is short break between storms. We could see another bump in wind from the Northwest into the 15mph zone. Skies should remain mostly clear and temperatures in the teens.

Monday we will see the onset of a more potent storm that looks to hit most of Southcentral in phases through the middle part of the week. A result of all the snow dances and sacrifices to Ullr...? We can expect cloud cover to increase and 1-3" of snow by Monday evening with winds shifting to the South and East increasing to the 20mph range. Tuesday and Wednesday look to be the brunt of this storm. Models are suggesting by Wednesday evening Turnagain Pass could see 8-12+" of snow. Stay tuned!


PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 24  0.2  19 
Summit Lake (1400') 21  0.2 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 24  0.17 


RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  19  NW  6 25 
Seattle Ridge(2400')   20   N  9  33 


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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