Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, March 13th 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

The avalanche danger today is LOW both in the Alpine and at Treeline. Isolated pockets of surface snow instabilities are possible in very steep and exposed terrain where consequences of a fall could be high in the wrong place. It is in this terrain where scouting your line and paying attention to surface snow variations will be important.  

Frostbite is possible today with the combination of cold temps and moderate winds. Minimize your exposure with extra layers and stop often to rewarm hands, feet, and face.

 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

Avalanche Rescue Workshop at Hatcher Pass!! Join CNFAIC forecasters, HPAC forecasters and Alaska Avalanche School this Sunday from 11am-12:30pm for a FREE informal rescue workshop before hitting the hills at Hatcher Pass!! Click HERE for more info. 

Avalanche Problem 1

Surface Instabilities:

It has been 5 days since our last loading event of 6-10” and 30+ mph winds. Surface snow instability has been our primary concern over the last week and we caution those getting into very steep terrain to be aware of the consequences should one find a small wind slab or trigger a sluff today.

Wind Slab

Old wind slabs 2-10” thick, both soft and hard, could be lingering on steep and complex terrain. This type of hazard is unlikely to bury a person, but could take you for a ride over a steep cliff or rocky chute. It is in these locations where being aware of the consequences of a fall should be at the forefront of your mind. It is also important to mention that surface conditions are variable and it can be difficult to see the consistency of the snow changing from soft to breakable

Loose Snow

Isolated pockets of loose dry snow can be found in steep gullies and chutes. With such cold temperatures this snow could be fast moving and knock you off your feet if it gains momentum. With good sluff management skills this is a minor concern.

LOW avalanche danger does not mean NO danger. It is important to still practice safe travel protocols. Identify safe spots, move between islands of safety one at a time, and always have an escape zone in mind.

Other hazards:

Frostbite is a legitimate concern today. As of this morning Sunburst Wx station has reached an all time season low of -8 F. Daytime highs will be near 0 F and winds are expected to be 10-20 mph from the Northwest; just cold enough to drop the wind chill to -20 F. Bring extra warm layers in order to minimize exposure to your extremities and your face. Stop to rewarm hands and feet as needed. 


Surface conditions vary from breakable wind stiffened snow to protected pockets of powder.    

Mountain Weather

Yesterday skies were clear and daytime temperatures remained in the single digits F, even in the sun. Overnight lows reached -6 to -8 F along ridgetops. Winds were light 5-15 mph from the West. No new precipitation fell in the last 24 hours.

Today expect more of the same; clear skies and cold temps. Daytime temperatures will be near 0 F and ridgetop winds will be 10-20 mph from the Northwest. Near Whittier and Seward winds are expected to increase to 30-40 mph.

Cold and dry weather will last through Saturday. A large Sourtherly flow is expected to arrive in Southcentral Alaska by Sunday bringing warmer temperatures and fingers crossed, a shot of SNOW! 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880')  4 43 
Summit Lake (1400')
Alyeska Mid (1700') 27 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') -6   6 18 
Seattle Ridge(2400') -4  WSW  20 

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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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