Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Tuesday, December 8th 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

A generally LOW avalanche danger exists in the mountains surrounding Turnagain Pass. Triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible. The most suspect slopes are in steep terrain at the high elevations where someone just might be able to break off a slab 1-2' thick. LOW danger does not mean no danger. Good travel habits, such as exposing one person at a time, watching your partners, grouping up in safe zones and having an escape route planned are, as always, key ways to minimize risk.

*If venturing into the 'periphery' forecast zones, such as Girdwood Valley, Silvertip and Summit Lake areas, more caution is advised due to limited information about the snowpack in these areas.

 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.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Special Announcement

Fireside Chat #2 - Avalanche Rescue - Dec 10th!! Join CNFAIC forecaster Heather Thamm Thursday night from 6:30-8:00pm at the Alaska Avalanche School for a presentation on "Rescue Fundamentals". A successful rescue of a buried individual can hinge on even a little bit of knowledge, we hope to see you there!

Avalanche Problem 1

The Turnagain Pass area saw another sunny day with moderate temperatures and no reports of significant instability. An observation from Saturday illustrates the potential for small slabs in steep areas, a typical LOW danger concern. 

As the weather pattern shifts today, bringing showery weather and stronger winds, taking inventory of the surface characteristics is critical to get a picture of what may happen in the days to come as the conditions change. We know that any new precipitation will land on a combination of weak faceted snow and surface hoar that have formed over the past days during the cold clear weather. Underneath these persistent grain types, that could become persistent weak layers, is either a stout rain crust (up to around 2500') or dense snow that could act as a future bed surface. A forecaster observation from Sunday speaks to what to keep in mind when thinking about near surface facets and surface hoar together. 

***If winds increase today and snow is moved around pay attention to areas that are leeward and may develop small pockets of wind slab on the weak snow/bed surface combination. 

Remember the surface conditions (facets and surface hoar to ridge tops) that may get buried this week.





Avalanche Problem 2

We are continuing to track the layer of basal facets from the cold period in early November. For the most part these have been non-reactive. With the potential for additional load in the coming week we will be interested to see if this changes.

Mountain Weather

Today's weather is forecasted to be a mixture of showery weather in the morning and then mostly to partly cloudy in the afternoon. There is the possibility of snow with up to an inch of accumulation. Temperatures will be in the upper 20Fs to mid 30Fs. Wind will be N-NE, 10-20 mph with gusts in the 30s.

Tomorrow the unsettled weather will continue as the low in the Gulf spins moisture into the region. Cloudy skies, snow showers and warmer temperatures are on tap for the week as the overall pattern shifts.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 22   0 23 
Summit Lake (1400') 15   0  0 11 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 25   0  0 19 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 22   NE 18  38 
Seattle Ridge(2400')  22  SE 15   38

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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