Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, March 26th 2017 7:00 am by Heather Thamm
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

In Turnagain Pass there is a LOW avalanche danger in the backcountry at all elevations. Remember LOW danger does not mean NO danger. Be aware of fast moving ‘sluff’ where getting knocked over could have high consequences. In the afternoon on solar aspects triggering a wet loose avalanche may be possible should the snow become wet or moist. Give Cornices and glide cracks extra space and avoid being under these features.

Placer/Skookum: Triggering a slab avalanche up to 2’ thick in steep terrain is becoming unlikely, but its not completely out of the questions. In this area - it will be extra important to avoid solar aspects should you notice any wet surface snow or wet loose activity on Southerly slopes. 

Good travel habits remain important, even during 'green light conditions'. This includes exposing only one person at a time on a slope, watching your partners closely and having an escape route planned in case the snow moves. 

Read the Saturday Summit Summary HERE.

 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

The deadline is fast approaching! Consider showing your support for public avalanche centers when applying for your 2017 PFD!! Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center is an official Pick. Click. Give. organization!

Avalanche Problem 1

Cool temperatures and mild weather this week have been helping the snowpack adjust to a storm that left 6” to 30” of snow throughout our region last Sunday (3/19/17). Slope testers have been hitting the slopes hard and its been several days since any avalanche activity has been reported. Most of these avalanches have been small slabs, not well connected, and have been mostly on solar aspects during the heat of the day. This serves as a good reminder to pay attention to surface conditions as daily warming and sun may cause a sun crust on Southerly aspects to break down. Today’s cloud cover (if thin) and temperatures in the high 20F’s could act as ‘green house’ - trapping warm air. Should you notice wet surface snow or roller balls, it may be possible to trigger a wet avalanche in the afternoon. In Placer/Skookum where snow totals were deeper (2+' deep), unexpected warming today could ripen the conditions for a bigger avalanche in this zone. Any natural or human triggered wet loose activity will be a sign to avoid steep Southerly slopes in the afternoon. Also be aware of the following avalanche problems:  

LOOSE SNOW AVALANCHES (SLUFFS):  Human triggered dry loose snow avalanches continue to be easily triggered on steep slopes without a sun crust on the surface. Watch your sluff if headed to steep terrain with loose surface snow, they could be larger and run further than expected

CORNICES:  There has been a couple of cornice breaks after the storm and cornices are always worth giving a wide berth. Direct sunshine and warming can help to loosen them. 

GLIDE CRACKS: Glide cracks continue to slowly ooze open on Seattle Ridge, Tincan's Library, Lynx creek and other zones. Keep an eye out for them and limit time spent underneath.

Although this avalanche was from a earlier in the week, if the sun crust starts to become wet today, triggering a wet avalanche may be possible.  


One of several glide cracks opening up in Lynx Creek on a Southeast aspect. 



Mountain Weather

Yesterday skies were clear. Temperatures in the morning were around 10F increasing into the high 20F’s by mid afternoon. Temperatures in the alpine reached 20F. Winds were light from the East and no new precipitation occurred. 

Today skies are expected to be mostly cloudy with isolated snow showers, but the sun may still pop out at times. By this evening more cloud cover is expected and up to an inch of snow is possible. Daily temperatures swings are expected to range from 20F to 30F by mid day. Ridge top winds should remain light (5-10mph) from the East. 

Tomorrow scattered snow showers are likely. Similar temperatures are expected, 20F - 30F, with light winds out of the Northeast, 5-10mph. The next few days look similar. A pattern shift is expected later in the week bringing warmer temperatures, but a good deal of uncertainty remains as to how much precipitation.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 18  63 
Summit Lake (1400') 18   0 29 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 21  58 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 15   NE 13 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 17 

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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