Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, April 8th 2019 7:00 am by CNFAIC Staff
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE today at all elevations. Glide cracks have been releasing into avalanches in many popular recreating areas and pose a hazard to anyone traveling under glide cracks. Additionally, due to recent rain/snow triggering a wet loose avalanche on solar aspects or a shallow wind slab on shaded, steep, leeward features in the Alpine will remain possibleAvoid traveling under glide cracks and give cornices a wide berth. 

PORTAGE VALLEY: Summer trails with avalanche terrain overhead, such as Byron Glacier Trail, are not recommended due to the possibility of an avalanche or cornice fall sending debris over the trail.


 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.
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.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Special Announcement

Avalanche Problem 1

Glide Avalanches

Almost Certain
Very Likely


Very Large


A large glide avalanche was observed east of the Hope Wye yesterday morning and glide cracks have been appearing, opening and releasing across our region over the last two weeks. This is the entire snowpack gliding downhill and spontaneously releasing. So far all of this activity has occurred on East, South, and West facing slopes below 3000’. This past week Turnagain Pass has been the most active. Glide avalanches are not associated with a human trigger and release without warning. The best way to manage this problem is avoidance. Identify existing cracks and plan your route to avoid being under a glide. Many cracks are opening in popular terrain and may require an unusual route to avoid their runout. This is a case of 'don't be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time'.

Recent glide avalanche observed in the morning, 4-7-19

 Closer view of the recent glide next to an older release, 4-7-19. 

Avalanche Problem 2

Wet Loose

Almost Certain
Very Likely


Very Large


Yesterday brought broken skies, some on and off very light rain/snow and warm temperatures in mid 40Fs at 1000', and 30Fs in the Alpine. With overnight cloud cover, the snowpack did not get a chance to freeze leaving a deteriorating crust and wet/moist snow on the surface of solar aspects. Triggering a wet loose avalanche will be possible with today's continued weather pattern of light rain and snow across the region, warm temperatures and a chance of sunshine. Pay close attention to the surface conditions, roller balls and wet snow sluffs above 2500'. At lower elevations monitor the crust as it becomes punchy and unsupportable.
WIND SLAB: Keeping in mind the few soft inches of snow that fell over the weekend (3-6") was blown onto leeward slopes and there is still snow available for transport on shaded aspects in the Alpine. Yesterday observers noted that the new snow was not bonding well to the small facets and surface hoar found at the new/old interface on the shaded aspects and shallow skier triggered wind slabs were reported. With easterly winds today between 10-25 mph, gusting up to 40mph, triggering a small shallow wind slab in steep leeward terrain features remains possible. Watch for cracking and look for pillowed snow along ridgelines. Be cautious of fresh drifts. 
CORNICES: Cornices remain very large along some ridgelines in the Alpine. These cornices can break suddenly and pull back onto flat ground above a slope. Give them a wide berth and avoid travel directly below them.
South of Turnagain in Summit Lake and areas in the interior Kenai Peninsula still posses a variety of old weak layers within the snow pack. Be aware of a variety of avalanche conditions ranging from small isolated wind slabs to wet loose. Triggering a persistent slab 2-3' deep is becoming an outlier at this point, but the poor snowpack structure is worth noting if headed to Summit. 
New snow sliding easily off on small facets and surface hoar at the old snow interface, 4-7-19.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday:  Broken skies with very light rain/snow showers on and off throughout the day. Rain/snowline was around 2500'. Winds were easterly 5-15 mph gusting into the 20s. Temperatures were in the 40Fs at lower elevations and the 30Fs to high 20Fs at upper elevations. Overnight skies were mostly cloudy and temperatures were in the 40Fs to high 20Fs depending on elevation. Easterly winds bumped up slightly gusting into the 30s. 

Today:  Mostly cloudy skies with rain and snow likely throughout the day and the rain/snowline near 2500', with an overall accumulation up to a couple of inches of snow in the upper elevations. Temperatures will be in the 40Fs at sea level, and in the 30Fs in the upper elevations. Winds will be easterly between 10-25mph, gusting into the 40s.

Tomorrow:  Similar weather is forecast as the series of low-pressure systems continue to move through the advisory area bringing more rain/snow showers, warm temperatures and gusty easterly winds. This pattern looks to continue throughout the upcoming week. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 38  63 
Summit Lake (1400')  39    0    19  
Alyeska Mid (1700')   38    0.06    57 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  29 NE  11  38 
Seattle Ridge(2400')  33 21 

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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