Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Thursday, January 29th 2015 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 at all aspects and elevations as weak, incoming weather isn’t expected to significantly add to current concerns.  Pockets of MODERATE danger may exist particularly on upper elevation, west aspects where an older wind slab (3-6”) could be tickled out.

If precipitation or winds enter the picture in amounts greater than forecasted, small and shallow (5-10”) wind slabs late in the day could be a concern where active loading is taking place.

 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

Please consider a Pick, Click, Give. donation to your local avalanche center this year when applying for your 2015 PFD.  The F-CNFAIC is a community supported non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing avalanche awareness in Southcentral Alaska through information, outreach, and partnership. Click HERE to make a donation and read about future projects the F-CNFAIC is working towards!

Avalanche Problem 1

We’ve received great info from a Level 3 avalanche class that has been conducting fieldwork in both Turnagain pass and Summit Lake area over the last several days.  Students yesterday found a generally strong snowpack with shallow, stubborn wind slabs on Seattle ridge (Sunny side) that would not propagate under a skier’s weight.  Across the road where moderate westerly winds have not been so destructive the surface consisted of 2-4” of near surface facets capped by growing surface hoar yesterday.  Below the surface data and a lack of avalanche activity continues to validate the high strength, low propagation potential in the Turnagain pass area.

In terms of moving through the mountains today, any pockets of instabilities observed should be relegated to the upper 3-6” of the snowpack and will likely be in the form of older, shallow wind slabs on leeward slopes.  Look for these pockets of denser snow and be mindful of your terrain choices, weighing the consequences of popping off a shallow wind slab.  This will be particularly important in steep, (greater than 40 degrees) upper elevations where you may be exposed to terrain traps below.  If we receive more than 4” of snow today and winds kick up enough to actively transport snow, expect shallow wind slabs (5-10”) to be more reactive to human triggers.  

With a few inches of snow in the forecast, any new wind slabs could also prove problematic to ice climbers exposed to funneled terrain in areas such as Portage Valley.

Avalanche Problem 2

Glide avalanches are still littered throughout the forecast area and with a bit of a warm-up today we’ll be keeping an eye on any glide crack movement or release.  Your best bet remains to limit your time spent underneath glide cracks, as they remain an unpredictable beast.

Glide cracks and glide avalanches (already released) litter the South and West aspects of Eddies.  

  photo: Jaime Andersen


Low snow coverage:

Below 2000’ low snow coverage is deceiving with only a few inches of new snow covering rocks, ice and vegetation. Take your time getting in and out of the alpine today.

Mountain Weather

Valley fog persisted throughout the day yesterday with mostly sunny skies above about 500’.  Temperatures warmed slightly throughout the day to the low-20’s at ridgetop locations.  Winds were light and variable, generally in the single digits through the daylight hours.

Today temperatures are expected to continue to climb to the mid-20’s at ridgetops with easterly winds in the 4-14mph range.  A weak band of increased clouds and precipitation is trying to push into our region today and it’s likely we’ll see 1-3” of snow in the eastern Turnagain arm region by nightfall.

By Friday afternoon skies are expected to clear with high pressure, sunshine and dry offshore flow dominating our weather through the weekend.  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 23  31 
Summit Lake (1400')  15  6
Alyeska Mid (1700')  18  0  0  22


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  19  NE  7 17 
Seattle Ridge(2400')  20  variable 13 

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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