Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, January 26th 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 at all elevations today.  Triggering avalanches are unlikely.

Despite today’s date, early season conditions exist in the lower and mid elevations.  Stumps, rocks, and very slick surfaces require careful travel 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

If you are headed out in the backcountry today (and have a smart phone) consider participating in this very interesting research project: "Understanding Travel Behavior in Avalanche Terrain: A Crowdsourced Approach".  Researchers from Montana State University are looking for data sets worldwide and we can help provide some valuable AK data!

Avalanche Problem 1

Spring like conditions exist in the higher elevations.  With a lack of concerning weak layers in the snowpack comes a very low likelihood of triggering anything other than very shallow loose snow avalanches today.

Loose Snow Avalanches 

Yesterday my partner and I were able to get the 2” of surface snow moving in terrain over 40 degrees.  Volume of these sluffs were very low and moved at medium speed.  This made sluff management simple.  It is worth paying attention to your sluff if venturing onto large sustained slopes containing steep rollovers and gullies.  This surface snow will become more loose over the next several days of clear and cold weather.  As such, it will become easier to trigger this thin layer as we move through the week.

Weak surface snow released naturally in steep terrain on Magnum ridge yesterday.  Photo: Fitzgerald


Glide Avalanches

Glide cracks are scattered throughout the forecast area.  Glides exist on all aspects between 2,000'-3,000'.  We continue to monitor and track areas with glide cracks.  No new movement or releases were noted yesterday.  Minimize your time under glide cracks, as they can release without the normal warning signs.

As mentioned above, early season conditions between road level and 2,500’ exist.  Slick crusts, especially in well traveled areas are veiled with a dusting of low density snow.  Rocks and stumps may be lurking just below the surface.  On the bright side most small creeks and water sources have frozen over with the recent cold temps.  Take your time moving through these areas today.

Mountain Weather

As high pressure has established itself over a large portion of the state, temperatures have dropped.  Ridgetop stations have averaged in the single digits F over the past 24 hours.  Winds have been light out of the North.  No new precipitation has fallen.

Today expect similar conditions, with clear, cold and calm being the theme for the day.  Ridgetop temperatures will remain in the single digits F and winds will be very light out of the North.

The extended outlook is showing a continuation of this pattern until at least Thursday.  Low pressure systems from the South and West will attempt to push up into the region later in the week.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 3 0 0 31
Summit Lake (1400') -4 0 0 7
Alyeska Mid (1700') 4 0 0 23


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 0 WNW 7 18
Seattle Ridge(2400') 0 VAR 6 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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