Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, March 14th 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 the Alpine and Treeline elevations.  Isolated pockets of wind slabs and low to medium volume loose snow avalanches could be triggered in very steep terrain.

Low snow cover and icy conditions on the approaches require careful and creative travel today.  Yes, it’s mid March but early season conditions exist between 1,000-2,000’.

Potential frostbite conditions will continue today.  See the Mountain Weather section for more details.

 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 is tomorrow!! 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.  Parking will be at the Gold Mint trailhead-please carpool as parking spaces will fill up fast.


The Friends of the Chugach Avalanche Center is an official Pick. Click. Give. organization. When you apply for your PFD please consider supporting your public avalanche center.  Every little bit helps and allows us to provide the best possible service.  Thank you to all of our donors past, present and future!

Avalanche Problem 1

It has been close to a week since high winds and snow created unstable conditions.  In that time temperatures have plummeted and the snowpack has adjusted in areas that saw significant loading.  With that in mind, there are still two issues to be aware of today:

Wind slabs
Isolated pockets of stiff wind slab up to 10” thick exist in many areas.  For the most part it is very difficult to trigger one of these pockets.  In terrain over 40 degrees be on the lookout for these pockets and minimize your exposure by moving one at a time when encountering this snowpack/terrain combo.

Loose Snow Sluffing
Skier and rider triggered sluffing will be possible in the few areas that were not affected by recent winds.  On steep sustained slopes over 40 degrees expect sluffs to be fast moving and have enough volume to knock you over.  Be aware of your sluff and move away from it before it gains volume.

As always, practicing effective terrain management techniques will be important in managing these minor issues as well as help to reinforce good habits for times when the snowpack is less stable.
-Expose one person at a time on suspect slopes
-Identify and utilize islands of safety for spotting and re grouping
-Recognize and identify escape options when assessing your route
-Communicate decisions and route options within your group
-Be aware of other groups above and below

Mountain Weather

Temperatures over the past 24 hours have remained frigid, with ridgetops in the negative digits and just above 0 F at 1,000’.  Winds were light out of the Northwest.  Skies were mostly clear and no precipitation fell.

Today will be more of the same with temps climbing slightly onto the positive side of 0 F along ridgetops.  Winds will increase slightly as well out of the Northwest at 10-15 mph.  Remember it only takes a little wind to increase the potential for frostbite.
A shift in the pattern will take place as we move through the weekend.  Clouds and warmer temps will move in ahead of a low moving across the Alaska peninsula tonight.  Snow will begin tomorrow and last into the early part of next week.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 2 0 0 43
Summit Lake (1400') 1 0 0 9
Alyeska Mid (1700') 3 0 0 26


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') -9 WNW 6 16
Seattle Ridge(2400') -5 n/a 10 31

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.

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