Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, November 29th 2015 7:00 am by CNFAIC Staff
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE in the Alpine elevations today. The recent series of storms has added 1-3' of snow and the sustained winds have loaded leeward slopes. Pockets of wind slab may be sensitive to human triggers in upper elevation starting zones today. Ease into steeper terrain, practice safe travel techniques and look for signs of instability,

The danger is MODERATE in the Treeline elevation band. The rain and warm temperatures have left the snowpack moist and unsupportable at mid-elevations. There is the possibility of triggering a wet loose avalanche in steep terrain where the snowpack remains saturated. If the temperatures dip below freezing and a supportable surface crust exists the hazard will be LOW.

Below Treeline (1,000’) there is not enough snow coverage to warrant a danger rating.

 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

Outside of advisory area AVALANCHE CONDITIONS update:

Due to avalanche danger and on going search and rescue efforts the East Hatcher Pass Management Area is closed to public use until further notice. For current information visit DNR Newsroom and

The search for a missing skier in Hatcher pass continues today. Click HERE for latest media release from the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center. Click HERE for yesterday's article in Alaska Dispatch News. Our thoughts are with the friends and family.

We have received a few observations for the Anchorage Front Range in the last two days, including an avalanche that ran over a popular hiking trail. Click here for the recent observations.

Avalanche Problem 1

The combination of wind and new snow in the Alpine over the past few days has created potential for wind slabs on steep leeward slopes. Slabs could be 1-4' thick. Look for recent evidence of loading in the terrain. Cornice formation and scalloped or pillowed snow are good indications of deposition. Watch for cracking and collapsing under the weight of your skis or snowboard. Listen for hollow sounds and whumpfing.

** We are still concerned with a layer of weak faceted snow that formed during the colder temps in early November. These facets exist in many areas at the base of the snowpack but we have not seen evidence that they are reactive. We have limited information about the overall distribution of this layer in the Alpine and continue to be suspect of it lurking below the recent storms. 

Photo below is an image of the cross loading on the SE face of Seattle Ridge.

Avalanche Problem 2

The snowpack received rain up to 2500' in the last series of storms. Temperatures in the Alpine cooled off and created a rain crust. At Treeline and below in areas that have not frozen there remains the possibility for wet avalanches in steep terrain. Observers reported "mashed potato" snow conditions and boot penetration to the ground. Additional rain showers and temperatures above freezing at lower elevations today will continue to create a hazard where the snow remains saturated. If the temperatures drop the danger will be LOW. Watch for new roller balls, wet punchy "trap door" snow and "push-a-lanches" starting at your skis or snowboard.

Yesterday observers reported rain runnels and roller balls up to 2500'.

Photo: Runnels on the Tincan uptrack. Credit: Ted Grosgebauer


Mountain Weather

Rain and snow showers will continue in the region today. Some areas will see clearing skies. This system will dissipate as a ridge builds over Southcentral ahead of the next front appproaching from the Southwest. Temperatures will remain in the 30's today and it is forecasted to gradually cool over the next few days. Winds will be light and Easterly. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 32  .2  NA 
Summit Lake (1400') 32  0  0  9
Alyeska Mid (1700') 33   .35 16 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 25   ENE 17  46 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 27  NA NA  NA 

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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