Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, December 5th 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 avalanche danger is LOW today both in the alpine and at tree line elevations.  Pockets of MODERATE danger can be found above treeline in steep complex terrain on leeward slopes  harboring fresh wind slabs up to 12” in depth.  Any significant rain on snow at the mid-elevations today will also increase the avalanche danger.  A continued lack of snow cover below treeline results in no rating at this lowest elevation band again today.

 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

Check out the recently re-vamped Forest Service National Avalanche Center webpage!  Bookmark this page as its a great resource for avalanche information and education on National Forest lands nation-wide

Avalanche Problem 1

Field observations and a lack of avalanche activity over the last several days have given us increased confidence in a strengthening snowpack.  With only modest amounts of new snow showing up precipitation hasn’t been a huge factor in increasing avalanche danger, allowing the snowpack to adjust accordingly, a couple inches at a time.  The most concerning interface in our snowpack at this point is the Nov. 18th rain crust (below ~3,500’).  This can be easily found through pole probing, hand pits or digging a full pit. Recent test results are showing signs of good strength and bonding to this layer.

Winds have been moderate at ridge top locations gusting up to the low 40’s from the north and east.  Caution will be warranted today on steep, leeward slopes at these higher elevations where a shallow wind slab (up to 12” deep) could be found.  Approach this terrain carefully; looking, listening and feeling for a wind slab prior to committing to a slope.

At mid elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 feet the surface snow is moist and somewhat gloppy.  With temperatures on the rise today, any rain we may see in this elevation band could spike the danger for small, wet loose sluffs.  In steep terrain these have the potential to entrain a significant amount of snow.  Fortunately, as of 6am this morning forecasted precipitation appears to be minimal for the eastern Turnagain arm zone.

                                A quick snapshot of depth and structure of our snowpack on the motorized side of Turnagain pass.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday we experienced mostly cloudy skies with light to moderate winds from the northeast.  Snowfall rates were minimal with perhaps an inch stacking up throughout the day in the Turnagain pass area.  Rain was off and on for much of the day below about 500 feet.  Temperatures were hovering right around 32 degrees at the road level (1,000’)

Today appears to be a slight break in this general pattern of warm, moist air streaming into our region.  Though warming slightly from yesterday with temps expected to be around 36 degrees at 1,000’ the associated precipitation looks to be minimal with just a trace of rain/ snow forecasted today.  Any precip we do pick up will be all rain at sea level with that rain/ snow line hovering around 1,500 feet.  Winds will be predominantly from the east in the 10-25mph range at ridgetop locations.


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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 32   1 .1  20 
Summit Lake (1400')  30  0
Alyeska Mid (1700')  31  1 0.1  19 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  24  16  43
Seattle Ridge(2400') 26  NNE  19  37 

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: May 06, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of 5/6. Thanks for a great season all, see you next winter!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3.22.19 due to lack of snow
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19 due to lack of snow
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClose as of 5.1.2019
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Summit Lake: Closed

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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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