Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, March 11th 2015 7:00 am by Heather Thamm
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

In the Alpine, above 2500’, the avalanche danger is MODERATE where isolated pockets of wind slab 1-2’ thick may be found in steep complex terrain such as steep gullies and convex rollovers. These will be more developed just off the top of ridges on Northern and Eastern aspects. On very steep slopes where snow is loose and unconsolidated sluffing will also be a hazard to manage.

The avalanche danger below 2500’ is LOW where triggering an avalanche is unlikely. 

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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

Avalanche Rescue Workshop at Hatcher Pass!! Join CNFAIC forecasters, HPAC forecasters and Alaska Avalanche School this Sunday for a FREE informal rescue workshop before hitting the hills at Hatcher Pass!!

Avalanche Problem 1

After a three-day period of moderate Westerly winds accompanied by 6” of new snow, lingering wind slab instability remains our primary concern. Due to the unusual wind direction of this last storm pockets of wind slabs1-2' thick are likely to be the more tender on steep Northern and Eastern slopes. These wind slabs could also be found on other aspects where cross-loading is more common like along gullies and on leeward aspects of terrain features.  

Use caution in steep terrain and avoid smooth pillow shaped features. These wind slabs could vary from hard to soft and are likely to break above you. Be sure to practice safe travel habits. Identify safe spots, move between islands of safety one at a time, and always have an escape zone in mind. 

On a side note… Skiing and riding conditions are better than they look in Turnagain Pass. Pockets of loose unconsolided (Powder) snow are easily found on good portions of Southwestern aspects. Surface conditions are variable along ridgelines, but wind erosion is softer and more forgiving than it appears. 

A view of Hippy Bowl from 3200' on Tincan. Soft Sastrugi (wind erosion) along ridges makes for easy access to nice powder stashes on Southwestern aspects.  


Additional Concern

Cold temperatures are continuing to “dry” out the surface snow and fast moving snow “sluffs” could pick up enough speed to knock you off your feet. This is minor concern, but one worth keeping in the back of your mind if venturing in steep terrain. 

Mountain Weather

Yesterday skies were clear and day-time temperatures reached the teens F in the sun. Ridgetop temps and overnight lows hovered around 0 F. Winds were light 5-10 mph from the West. No new precipitation fell in the last 24 hours.

Today expect more of the same; clear skies and cold temps. Day-time temperatures may reach 10 F and lows should dip to -5 F. Ridgetop winds will increase later in the day, 10-20 mph from the West, and no precipitation is expected.

More cold dry weather is expected through the weekend. The next talk of precipitation is early next week as a large Sourtherly flow near Kodiak is expected to move North and East. There is uncertainty if it will reach Southcentral Alaska, but if it does, expect warm temperatures and moisture. 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 44 
Summit Lake (1400') 0
Alyeska Mid (1700') 8 27 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  13
Seattle Ridge(2400')  17

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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