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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Wednesday, December 19th 2012
Created: Dec 19th 6:50 am
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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.
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Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking
The Bottom Line

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Join Wild Alpine and the Friends of the CNFAIC for the Girdwood Premier of TGR's new film "The Dream Factory" - with scenes shot at Alyeska and the surrounding Chugach Mountains. This is a fundraiser for the CNFAIC and takes place at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill - Alyeska Resort. More details HERE.

BOTTOM LINE

A Moderate avalanche danger continues in areas above treeline due to poor snow structure.  The old weak layers from November are buried under 1-2 feet of stronger and heavier snow from December, making for a relatively unstable combination.  Below treeline, Low avalanche danger dominates areas that have little influence from wind. 


Primary Concern

Well developed facets, buried surface hoar, even depth hoar is lingering in the snowpack across our region.  Only major precipitation or melting is going to make this problem disappear...  In other words, we will be talking about this problem for some time to come.  Signs of this problem are still easily found, including - collapsing, shooting cracks, and propagation in snowpit tests.  

In practice, the best way to deal with persistent weak layers is to tone down your terrain choices.  As time passes since the last snowfall, the likelihood of triggering avalanches diminishes.  Steeper areas may never become fully trustworthy without a big change in the weather pattern.  For now, choosing moderate terrain is the only sure way to stay away from the avalanche problem. 


Secondary Concern

Watch for wind slab in areas above treeline.  Recently deposited, stiffer snow is going to be the most likely to trigger and step down to the older weak layers.  Pay attention to the direction of recent wind loading (likely from the east, loading the west aspects.)


Mountain Weather

No major changes are expected in the near future.  Today, decreasing temperatures and slightly increased wind is predicted.  Clear and cold weather will continue over the next several days.  A strong pressure gradient will produce gap winds across some of the major passes.  The next hope for snow is listed in the extended forecast sometime next week.


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). 

Our newest forecaster, John Fitzgerald will issue the next advisory Thursday morning, December 20th.  Welcome Fitz!

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: Mar 28, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenPlacer remains open but SKOOKUM DRAINAGE will close to motorized use on April 1st.
Skookum Drainage: OpenSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSES TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: Open
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
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