Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, December 6th 2014 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
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 in the alpine and treeline elevations.  Very shallow isolated pockets of wind slab, no greater than 6” deep, could be encountered on very steep terrain features on leeward slopes today.

Below treeline a shallow snowpack combined with the potential for rain below 1,000’ does not warrant a danger rating for today.

Early season hazards such as rocks, stumps, and older glide cracks require cautious travel, especially at and below treeline.

 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

Upcoming FREE Avalanche Awareness talks from CNFAIC forecasters:

Tuesday Dec 9th at 6pm - REI Anchorage.  A few spots are left.  Visit the REI website to sign up.

Thursday Dec 11th at 6:30pm - Alaska Avalanche School in Anchorage.  Installment #2 of our Fireside Chat Series.  This evening's topic will be "Avalanche Basics and Rescue Fundamentals".


Avalanche Problem 1

Over the past few weeks our field work has shown us that we do not have any persistent weak layers within the snowpack.  What this boils down to is the fact that any instability that you might encounter on a given day will be short lived.  This holds true today, as both precipitation and wind will not be enough to create new instability.

With that said, it is still important to pay attention to areas, mainly in the higher elevations, where winds could transport snow to create small isolated pockets of unstable snow.  Yesterday we found mostly stable snow in these suspect areas, with newly formed wind slabs averaging 4-6” in depth in upper elevation starting zones.  Slopes over 40 degrees in steepness with newly formed wind slabs will be the most likely place to find unstable snow today.  Pay attention in this type of terrain and do not assume that LOW danger is the same as ‘no’ danger.

Mountain Weather

A well organized Low pressure system currently centered over the West end of the Aleutians will draw warm moist air up from the South as it moves towards the area.  As a result we should expect to see temperatures warming slightly today and through the weekend.  

Precipitation will be light today, with the rain/snow line hovering around 1,000’ and 1-2” of new snow possible above 1,000’.  Ridge top winds will be out of the East at 5-15mph.  Temps at 1,000’ will be in the mid 30sF and ridge tops should see the thermometer approaching 30F.

Expect winds to increase heading into the evening hours through Sunday and temperatures to rise as a complex Low moves through the area.  We should see additional precipitation in the form of rain at sea level and snow in the higher elevations through the weekend.  The general pattern looks to remain unsettled and active for the next several days.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 32  0  0 20
Summit Lake (1400') 30  0  0 5
Alyeska Mid (1700') 31  0  .02 18


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  25  E  17 52
Seattle Ridge(2400')  27  N  14 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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