Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, November 26th 2018 7:00 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Continued snowfall and wind above 2,500' will keep the avalanche danger at HIGH in the Alpine. Storm snow avalanches are expected again today at these upper elevations. At the mid-mountain elevations, rain falling up to 2,500' will continue to wash away the snowpack and initiate wet avalanches on steep slopes where enough snow still exists. The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE in the treeline band as avalanches from above may run into these mid-elevations. Travel above treeline is NOT recommended.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
4 High Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
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'
Avalanche Problem 1

Storm Slabs

Almost Certain
Very Likely


Very Large


Today we should see the third pulse in a series of warm storms impact the region. Temperatures climbed to 32F at 2,500' yesterday, bringing rain as high as 2,200'. Today those numbers are expected to increase. Another 0.5" of rain up to 2,500' is forecast with 0.7" tonight. In the alpine (above 2,500') an additional 6-8" of snow should fall today and 8-10" tonight. Snow will be accompanied with winds in the 30's and 40's along the ridgetops from the east.

It is unknown the extent of the avalanche activity yesterday at the upper elevations due to limited visibility, but we did get a photo sent in to us of wet loose avalanches on the west face of Magnum at Turnagain Pass (thank you!). These avalanches were due to rain on snow, which will be expected again today. Obscured in the clouds at the high elevations we are expecting storm snow avalanche activity to continue. The new snow is piling up on a slick hard surface left from last week - which was a hard crust likely topped with surface hoar. This set up should be producing slab avalanches and as soon as the clouds part we'll be doing our best to take stock. 

Storm totals at the mid-elevation snow stations for this soggy storm cycle:

  • Girdwood Valley at 1,700':  4" wet snow, 2,4" of water equivalent (mostly in the form of rain)
  • Turnagain Pass at 1,880':  16" wet snow, 2.2" of water equivalent (also seeing some rain)
  • Summit Lake at 1,400':  2" wet snow, 0.5" of water equivalent (also seeing rain)

State of the snowpack? Although the snowpack is thickening in the high mountain terrain we are loosing the little snow that was there at the mid-elevations. Before this storm there was roughly 2-3' of snow depth at 3,300', that should be close to doubling after today's snowfall. At 2,200' and getting higher ... bare ground is taking over as rain is washing away the few inches of snow remaining. 


Hard to see, but there are wet loose point release avalanches on the west face of Magnum, seen from the Center Ridge trail (Photo: Jacob Swartz).

Mountain Weather

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 35  3" wet snow (with some rain) 1.2 15 
Summit Lake (1400') 35  0.3 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 35  Rain  1.9 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 28  NE  27  75 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 32  SE  20   57

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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