Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, November 30th 2015 7:00 am by Graham Predeger
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

There is a MODERATE avalanche danger today in the upper elevations of the advisory area.  Human triggered avalanches may be possible in steep, wind-loaded terrain above 2500’.  Practice safe travel techniques and ease into terrain one at a time, looking for signs of instability before committing to steep slopes greater than 35 degrees.

Below 2500’ the danger is low where the snowpack has been seasoned with rain and warm temps over the last several days.

 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

Fireside Chats are back!  Join CNFAIC Forecaster Heather Thamm this Wednesday Dec. 2nd in Anchorage at the Blue and Gold Boardshop for our first Fireside chat as she discusses terrain and route selection.  More information on our calendar page HERE.

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 the most recent news coverage in Alaska Dispatch News. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Dr. Liam Walsh.

Avalanche Problem 1

With an onslaught of warm, powerful storms since early last week we saw a peak in natural avalanche activity on Friday/ Saturday with rain up to 2500’ and 100+ mph winds through Turnagain pass.  Overall the snowpack will continue to gain strength and adjust today with slightly colder temps and a lack of active weather but areas of instabilities may exist.  Above 2500’ where the snow has stayed dry, steep leeward slopes may be harboring pockets of wind slab that could be susceptible to a human trigger.  Shooting cracks, whumphing or a hollow drum-like feel to the surface are clues that you’ve stepped onto a wind slab.  The snowpack is still quite shallow out there.  Getting knocked off your feet from even a small avalanche will translate to an unpleasant ride.

                              General snowpack structure in the mid-elevations, Turnagain pass.  Total height of snow here is about 28".


Additional Concern

Though we’ve seen a lack of avalanche activity since the peak of the storm post-Thanksgiving, keep in mind we have had 4+” of water over the last 5 days in the eastern Turnagain arm area.  This translates to more than 4’ of snow in some upper elevation areas, potentially overlaying weak snow from our cold snap earlier in November.  With a lack of information from periphery areas such as the Girdwood Valley, it’ll be prudent to approach any steep, upper elevation terrain with added caution today.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday provided a reprieve from the rain with only light, intermittent showers across eastern Turnagain arm.  Temperatures hovered around 36F all day at 1,000’ while ridge tops cooled slightly to the mid-20’s.  Ridgetop winds were less than 20 mph out of the east. 

Today we can expect patchy fog and mostly overcast skies.  Temperatures appear to be dropping slightly to the low 30’s at 1,000’ and we can expect a few lingering showers to deposit 1-2” of snow at and above ~1500’.  Winds will be light out of the East. 

Expect an overall decrease in temperatures (return toward normal) and more unsettled, active weather through the week as the next low pressure moves into our region. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 29   .2 22 
Summit Lake (1400') 27   .1 10 
Alyeska Mid (1700')  32 1 .06  16


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  23 ENE  11   32
Seattle Ridge(2400')  26  N/A N/A   N/A

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.

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