Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, March 28th 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 in many areas today.  MODERATE danger exists on steep slopes in both the Alpine and Treeline elevations.  Pockets of wind slabs up to 1’ thick in the Alpine could be triggered in terrain 40 degrees and over.  Loose snow avalanches will be possible on steep slopes.  These will be dry in the Alpine and wet in the Treeline elevations.  Cornices are also ripe and require careful travel today.

 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.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement

There are only a few more days left to bid on some great artwork currently on display at Midnight Sun Brewery!  The White Out Gallery and 19 very talented and generous Alaskan artists have come together to host a month long art show and auction, as a fundraiser for the Alaska Avalanche School. The funds will go to the Know Before You Go youth education program and the Instructor Development Fund.  The auction will close this coming Wednesday and you can bid online or at the pub.

Avalanche Problem 1

Moderate winds overnight that will continue today, combined with 5" of new snow are enough to create pockets of fresh wind slab.  Slab thickness will vary from 6-12".  Be on the lookout for recently formed slabs on the leeward side of ridges.  General wind direction will be out of the East but remember that wind direction in the mountains is influenced by terrain.  Snow that feels stiff, looks rounded or pillowy and produces shooting cracks should be avoided in steep terrain today.

Avalanche Problem 2

Natural and human triggered point release avalanches, also known as sluffs, will be possible on slopes over 40 degrees.  Volume will be low to moderate but increase on sustained steep slopes and in the lower elevations.  Sluffs will be dry above 2,000’ and gradually more damp with a decrease in elevation.  Brief periods of sunshine will increase the likelihood of loose snow avalanche activity today.

Rollerballs and shallow wet loose avalanches observed on Magnum yesterday.  More of the same can be expected in steep terrain today.

Magnum WL

Additional Concern

Cornices have grown significantly over the last week.  Steer clear of cornices and always know where the cornice begins and the underlying terrain ends.  Pick routes on the way up that minimize time spent beneath these features. 

Mountain Weather

Over the past 24 hours temps have been mild.  Snowfall and rain began overnight, with 5”/.5” of new (snow/H20) as of 6 am at the Center Ridge SNOTEL.  The Girdwood Valley received 2”/.2”.  Rain/snow line was around 500’. Ridgetop winds were out of the East averaging around 18 mph.

A broad area of low pressure to our South will spin and continue to pump light amounts of precipitation to the area today.  Another 2-3” of snow can be expected.  Rain snow line will hover around the 1,800’ mark.  Winds will be out of the East at 15-30 mph.  Temperatures at 1,000’ will be in the mid 30s to low 40s F.

A continuation of unsettled weather will bring more of the same for the next several days.  Warm Southerly flow associated with low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska will keep temps mild and precipitation coming in small doses.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 31 5 .5 63
Summit Lake (1400') 33 trace .1 11
Alyeska Mid (1700') 34 2 .2 32


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 24 E 18 41
Seattle Ridge(2400') 26 n/a 18 54

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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