Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, January 24th 2015 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 in the Alpine and Treeline elevations today.  Triggering avalanches are unlikely.  

At and below treeline “early” season conditions exist.  Meager snow coverage between 1,000-2,500’ will make for challenging travel.  Rocks, stumps, and slick surfaces are legitimate hazards to manage in the mid elevations 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'
Avalanche Problem 1

It has been over a week since the last significant loading event.  In that time temperatures have been mild and winds have been mostly light.  This has allowed instabilities that did exist in the upper portions of the snowpack to diminish.  Because of this it will be very difficult to trigger an avalanche today.

Keep in mind that LOW danger does not mean NO danger.  It is impossible to eliminate all risk if you are spending time in avalanche terrain in the winter.  Outlier issues today could come in the form of:

Wind Slabs
Moderate winds yesterday morning created very shallow pockets of wind slab above 2,500’.  These slabs are in the 4-6” range, low in volume and could grow slightly in areas receiving snow today.  If venturing into very steep upper elevation terrain be on the lookout for these small pockets as they could push you around or knock you off your feet.  

Glide Avalanches
We continue to track and monitor glide cracks throughout the forecast area.  Cracks exist on all aspects and are generally found between 2,000’ and 3,000’.  The solution to this problem is simple: stay away from glide cracks.  They are unpredictable and could release at any time.

Eddie's has many glide cracks.  Many on the South side have released.  Note the large crack on the headwall which has not released.  Photo: Fitzgerald

Eddie's Glides

If you are traveling in steep terrain today it is important to follow good travel protocol:
-One at a time on suspect slopes
-Use islands of safety for spotting and regrouping
-Communicate decisions and plans effectively
-Be aware of other groups above and below

Don’t get lazy in times of LOW danger.  Developing good habits will serve you well when the danger is higher than it is today.

Mountain Weather

Over the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up a trace to 2” of new snow.  Winds have been light with ridgetops averaging in the 5-10 mph range out of a variety of directions.  Temperatures have been on a steady downward trend with ridgetop stations reporting in the teens F this morning.

Today expect lingering snow showers to give way to clearing skies and a drop in temps.  Some areas could receive an additional 2” of snow.  Winds will be light out of the North in the 5 mph range.

A ridge of high pressure will begin building over the area later today and persist into the early part of next week.  Cold air will remain in place for the region with lows below zero F and highs in the single digits to teens F.

*Seattle ridge wind data is 6 am-11pm.  The wind sensor is rimed.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 25 1 .1 31
Summit Lake (1400') 24 1 .1 8
Alyeska Mid (1700') 23 1 .1 21


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 24 var 7 35
Seattle Ridge(2400') 21 SW* 11* 26*

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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