Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, February 19th 2016 7:00 am by Aleph Johnston-Bloom
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Overall generally stable avalanche conditions exist in the advisory area but with the widespread glide cracks in popular recreation terrain in the Treeline (1000'-2500') elevation band and continued reports of large naturally occurring cornice falls in the Alpine, the hazard remains at MODERATE. In addition, lingering pockets of wind slab and loose snow avalanches may be triggered in steep terrain. Practice safe travel techniques and take inventory of surface conditions as a storm approaches for the weekend. Watch for changing conditions if snow and winds pick up earlier than forecasted.

*Shallow snowpack zones: South of Turnagain Pass and the Summit Lake area have old weak layers in the snowpack where triggering a much larger avalanche is possible. This is something to keep in mind if you are headed to these zones. Click HERE for a recent photo of large Natural avalanche between Lynx Creek and Silvertip Creek. 

 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

Saturday, February 20th Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center is having their annual fundraiser at the Government Peak Chalet near Hatcher Pass. This event will feature a slide show by local climber and ski mountaineer, Kirsten Kremer, a Silent Auction, Live Music and FUN!  Click HERE for more info.


Avalanche Problem 1

There has been no reports of human triggered avalanches since Monday. Overall temperatures have cooled throughout the week and winds were light yesterday. Observers have reported good stability and slope testers have been in steep terrain without incident. However, there have been a few large naturally cornice triggered avalanches in steep Alpine terrain. Avoid traveling on or underneath cornices. They may break much farther back than expected and could trigger a large avalanche on the slope below. Falling on to a slope with a refrigerator to school bus sized piece of snow would be bad news. There have been significant cornice cracks observed along ridgelines. You do not want to end up on the wrong side or take a dip into one of the wide ones on your snowmachine or skis. 

In addition, watch for any lingering wind slabs on leeward slopes and loose snow sluffing. Both of these could be quite hazardous in steep, high consequence terrain.

As always practice safe travel techniques: ride slopes one at a time, park and regroup in safe areas, have escape routes planned and watch your partners. 

Cornice crack on Magnum ridge. Photo: Amanda Goss


Avalanche Problem 2

Glide cracks continue to appear, grow and release throughout the Treeline (1000'-2500') elevation band. They are on all aspects and are still totally unpredictable. The best way to minimize the risk is to avoid travel underneath. There was a new crack observed on Lipps yesterday in skiable terrain. 



Glide crack in Main Bowl (1st Bowl).  February 9th.                                                                                                            


The same glide crack on February 18th.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday was partly cloudy with light winds and temps in the mid 20Fs to low 30Fs. 

Today will partly to mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers during the day. Temperatures will be in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs and winds will be Easterly 5-15 mph. Clouds will increase overnight and with 1-4" of snow possible as the first front affects the area. 

Tomorrow snow showers and winds will increase as the next storm really moves into the region. The National Weather Service is decribing this as a robust front. Stay tuned for more details as the jury is still out on the timing, temperatures and the form of precipitation it will bring. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 22   0 101 
Summit Lake (1400') 20 0  0 30
Alyeska Mid (1700') 24 0  0 85 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 22  13 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 23  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: 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.

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