Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, March 18th 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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE in the mid elevation band between 1000’-3000’ where glide cracks continue to release naturally and without warning. In the Alpine, a generally LOW avalanche danger exists, but due to the glide problem below terrain choices remain limited. Chose your routes wisely to avoid glide cracks, and be on the lookout for changing conditions that could raise the danger in the alpine.  

*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don't forget to check Summit Lake Summary, and click HERE for a recent observation of glide activity in that area. 

 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.
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

Remember The Friends of the CNFAIC is part of PICK.CLICK.GIVE. Your donations are greatly appreciated and integral to making the CNFAIC possible and sustainable.  Be part of the 'Movement'! Thank you for your support!

Making plans for Arctic Man 2016? Don't forget your beacon, shovel and probe! CNFAIC will be there all week and offering two FREE companion rescue workshops. Click HERE for more info. We hope to see you there!

Avalanche Problem 1

And it continues.... More glide avalanches were reported again yesterday. One of the large glide cracks on Cornbiscuit released sometime in the past two days. Penguin Ridge has even more brown streaks than the day before. New glide cracks were observed on Raggedtop and Max's. Many of the exisiting cracks on Turnagain Pass have opened significantly in the past few days. I feel like a broken record but the message remains the same and caution recreating around the glides is crucial.

Glide cracks cover all aspects within the mid elevation band (between 1000-3000’) and remain a significant threat to popular terrain. As long as glide cracks continue to open up, move and release, we will stress the importance of avoiding them, which is THE ONLY WAY TO MANAGE THIS AVALANCHE PROBLEM. Remember these are totally unpredictable, release naturally and could be deadly if you were to get caught-up in that amount of snow. It is the entire winter snowpack releasing at the ground. 

Glide crack above Black Creek, Summit Lake. This is in a series of cracks that threatens the egress out of the Manitoba north facing terrain. It is a good example of glide hazard that can be easily avoided with simple route finding. 

Penguin Ridge is in a very active glide avalanche cycle this week. Keep in mind the debris can run into snow free areas and threaten some summer trails, especially around Girdwood Valley and Portage.


Avalanche Problem 2

Yesterday was another pleasant day in the mountains. There were no reported human triggered avalanches or signs of instability beyond the glide avalanche activity. The few inches of new snow that fell Tuesday night blew around a little but did not form any notable wind slabs. There is preciptation forecasted for this evening and we may see a flake or two today. Pay attention to blowing snow along ridgetops and be aware of how the sun is heating up the snow on solar aspects. If you see any obvious signs of instability like shooting cracks, large roller balls or recent avalanches be prepared to change your plans. Remember LOW danger doesn’t mean NO danger, any one of these avalanche problems listed below are still possible in very steep terrain. Practice safe travel protocol and as we move into the weekend and spring break comes to an end, be mindful of other groups recreating in the same area. You may still run into leprechauns shredding the gnar today...

Wind slabs: Be on the lookout for pillows of newly drifted snow and active wind loading - it is possible that steep terrain could harbor tender isolated wind slabs.

Loose snow: Sluffs are fast moving and will be proportional to the slope you are on today.  Big terrain may yield big sluffs, particularly on cooler, drier northerly aspects.  On slopes with a southern tilt, wet loose avalanches could be initiated later in the day if we get windows of sunshine.  The biggest threat with both of these is the potential to get knocked off your feet in steep, committing terrain. 

Cornice fall: Very large cornice features loom over many ridgelines and have a tendency to break further back than expected. Give them lots of space, and limit exposure time under them. 

Corniced ridgeline above Butcher Creek, Summit Lake.


Mountain Weather

Yesterday was partly cloudy to mostly sunny depending on what part of the advisory area you visited. The winds were light and easterly. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs. There were a few flurries in the morning. 

Today will be partly sunny to mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers. 0-2" of snow possible. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 20Fs and winds will be light and variable. 

The chance of precipitation increases with 3-6" of snow forecasted overnight. The pattern may not actually favor the advisory area. Stay tuned to see how the next round of storm systems impacts the region. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 27   0 132 
Summit Lake (1400') 28  0 0 43 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 26  0 0 107 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 23   NE 10  19 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 24 ESE  19 

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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