Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, March 25th 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 CONSIDERABLE at Treeline (below 2500’) where glide avalanche activity has been especially active in the last three days. Natural wet loose avalanches in steep terrain are also possible in the mid elevation zone and human triggered wet loose avalanches are likely. Cautious route-finding and terrain evaluation are essential today. Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.

In the Alpine above 2500’ the avalanche danger is MODERATE, where triggering a cornice, wind slab or wet loose avalanche are possible.

*If you are headed to the Summit Lake area don't forget to check Summit Lake Summary here and an HERE for observation from Wednesday.

 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.
3 Considerable Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement

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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

They keep going and going and going... The glide avalanche cycle in the advisory area continued yesterday. Observers saw new glide avalanches; new cracks appearing and existing glide cracks growing. These are on all aspects in the mid-elevation band (1000'-2500'). Please avoid spending any time underneath glide cracks. The glides are taking over the landscape. Poor visibility today may make it harder to see where they are. It is important to note that Seattle Ridge is littered with them and it is hard to travel without being in the line of fire. 



Glide crack and avalanche activity on Seattle Ridge yesterday. 

Avalanche Problem 2

Yesterday temperatures reached the 47F at 1880', and for the fifth night in a row the mid elevation zone remained above freezing with rain falling overnight. Wet loose natural activity was observed yesterday on all aspects. Observers in the Girdwood Valley reported it being very easy to trigger loose wet snow avalanches and once moving that they were quickly building mass and momentum.

Today’s weather forecast is for rain showers that will add moisture to an already wet snowpack and may cause natural wet loose avalanches. In addition, if the sun pokes out at all, it could also be a trigger for natural activity. 

Today a skier or snowmachiner triggering a wet loose avalanche will be likely below 2500’ on slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Wet avalanches once initiated can entrain more snow rapidly and are very hard to get out of. They can be particularly hazardous if they push you into a terrain trap and bury you deeply. If your skis or snowmachine are sinking deep into wet snow this is an obvious clue that the snow is unstable. Stick to low angle terrain and avoid runout zones where avalanches from above may catch you. 

Wet loose activity on the West Face of Lipps. 

Additional Concern

Wind slabs and Cornices:

There may be some new snow and wind today creating new tender wind slab and/or adding weight to old lingering wind slabs and enormous cornices in the Alpine.  Watch for cracking in steep wind-loaded areas and avoid travel on or under cornices. Today’s continued warm temperatures will make cornices more likely to fail. 


Mountain Weather

Yesterday was partly cloudy with light to moderate easterly winds. Temperatures were in the low 30Fs @ 3000' and the 40Fs @ 1000'. There were a few light rain showers. The clouds rolled in overnight and brought rain to the advisory area up to appoximately 2000'.

Today will be mostly cloudy with rain and snow showers throughout the day. 0-2" of snow possible (.2" of h2o). Temperatures are forecasted to be in the 40Fs at 1000' and low 30Fs @ 3000'. The sun may shine through at some point. Winds will be 15-25 mph from the southeast with locally higher gusts. 

Saturday may bring a break in the showers as a ridge moves over the area before another storm impacts the forecast region into next week. Stay tuned for the temperatures and precipitation type associated with the system. The NWS forecast used the words "somewhat murky forecast for south central" in the discussion last night.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 39  rain   .4 126 
Summit Lake (1400')  37 rain   .5 41 
Alyeska Mid (1700')  36 rain  .2  104 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  29 ENE  25   55
Seattle Ridge(2400')  30 SE  20  41 

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

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

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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