Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, November 28th 2018 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 in the Alpine where triggering a slab avalanche is likely. Below 2500' the danger is MODERATE. If there is any snow left triggering a wet loose avalanche will be possible and being in the runout of snow-covered slopes above should still be avoided today.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
3 Considerable Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
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

The Friends of the CNFAIC have two scholarships dedicated to avalanche education. The funds generated to make these possible are in celebration of Rob Hammel and Amy Downing, their love and passion for the mountains, and to help others stay safe. We encourage you to read each one and apply if you fit the need, or pass along to someone who could benefit. Applications due on Dec 1st.

Rob Hammel Scholarship Fund – For recreational users and professional avalanche workers.

Amy Downing Scholarship Fund – For recreational users.

Avalanche Problem 1

Storm Slabs

Almost Certain
Very Likely


Very Large


Yesterday was much like the previous few days will an additional inch of water falling in the advisory area. Rain/snow line was between 2500' and 3000'.  In the Alpine there has been significant snow load. Today triggering an avalanche in this elevation band is likely and avalanches could be large. There has been almost no visibility to see what has happened above the rain/snow line over the past 4 days and we have limited data on the overall snowpack structure. We do know that there were conditions for surface hoar and a melt-freeze crust before the storm. If you do venture into the mountains this is a day to proceed with caution and choose terrain carefully. Be on the lookout for signs of instability: recent avalanches, shooting cracks, and whumpfing

Water totals at the mid-elevation snow stations for this storm cycle from Saturday through Tuesday: 

  • Girdwood Valley at 1,700':  5.1" of water equivalent 
  • Turnagain Pass at 1,880':  4.1" of water equivalent
  • Summit Lake at 1,400': 1" of water equivalent 

If there is any snow left at treeline (2500' and below) triggering a wet loose avalanche in the saturated snowpack is also possible before the temperatures cool down later in the day. 

Magnum and Cornbicuit, November 26, 2018. Photo: Wendy Wagner

 West and NW aspects of Tenderfoot, November 26, 2018. Photo: Heather Thamm

Mountain Weather

Yesterday: Rain and snow throughout the day. Rain/snow line was between 2500' and 3000'. An inch of water fell in advisory area. Winds were easterly 15-25 mph with gusts into the 40s. Temperatures were in the 40Fs at sea level and in the high 20Fs on Sunburst at 3800'. 

Today: Light showers transitioning from rain to snow are forecast for today as cooler air moves into the area. Temperatures should slowly cool into evening starting in the mid 30Fs and dropping into the mid 20Fs. Chance of snow showers overnight. Winds will be easterly 5-15 mph with gusts in the 20s. 

Tomorrow: Partly sunny with temperatures in the high 20Fs to low 30Fs. Light SW winds. There is some discussion about the next storm moving into the area over the weekend but timing, temperatures, and precipitation type are still uncertain. 

*Seattle Ridge weather station stopped collecting wind data at 10 pm. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880')  34  1.1  13
Summit Lake (1400')  35  0.1  0
Alyeska Mid (1700')  36 1.16   0


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 27  NE   21  40
Seattle Ridge(2400')  32   E *  7 *   32*

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.

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