Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, December 29th 2012
Created: Dec 29th 6:10 am
4 High Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
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The Hoarding Marmot
The Bottom Line

A short break in stormy weather gave us a good look around the mountains yesterday.  Widespread natural avalanche activity confirmed the avalanche warnings we've been issuing most of the week.  Today, another storm is starting to hit us, bringing us into another upswing in the avalanche danger.  HIGH avalanche danger can be found on most aspects and elevations today due to new snow, high wind, and rising temperatures.  Travel is not recommended in avalanche terrain or anywhere in a potential runout zone.

This photo of Eddies from yesterday illustrates the problem we are dealing with.  Similar avalanches may be triggered by skiers or snowmachiners today.  The 3-4 foot depth will be dangerous and unmanageable.

Eddies natural avalanches 12-28-12

Primary Concern

Wind is cranking at ridge tops this morning.  All the new snow from earlier in the week will be loading the lee slopes to failure today.  Natural avalanches are expected in wind loading terrain.  

Early this morning we've seen 4 hours of 1 inch per hour snowfall and wind speeds averaging 31-62mph overnight.  Wind slabs are forming, and they may step down into deeper layers 3-4 feet deep.

Secondary Concern

The deep slab on top of extremely weak faceted snow is a dangerous combination this weekend.  The photo of Eddies above gives a good perspective of the deep slab problem.  A lot of people consider Eddies to be appropriate "storm day" skiing on days with elevated avalanche hazard.  Unfortunately, right now even smaller lower angle slopes are avalanching in a deep and dangerous way.  Very conservative terrain management this week has kept everyone safe so far.  With continued stormy weather, that mandate continues for at least the next few days. 

Mountain Weather

3-4 feet of new snow this week already caused a lot of natural avalanche activity.  Another wave of precipitation is reaching us this morning combined with high wind.  Temperatures are also warming higher than we've seen in a month, bringing the rain/snow line to 800 feet. 

Precipitation today is expected to taper off this morning, but wind reaching 80mph+ will be enough to increase avalanche activity.  Tonight and tomorrow the snowfall is expected to pick up.

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning December 30th.

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: Nov 18, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
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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