Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Thursday, January 31st 2013
Created: Jan 31st 6:56 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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Key Bank
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE today with human triggered avalanches possible.  Pay particular attention to areas at and just above tree line where these wind slabs have gained in mass over the last 24 hours and are sitting on top of a supportable crust.  Below tree line the danger is LOW where we have a few inches of moist snow resting on a strong, supportable crust.

Primary Concern

Tender wind slabs will once again dominate the discussion today as the primary avalanche concern.  Yesterday these wind slabs were shallow and easily triggered on steep convex slopes.  With the added wind yesterday and a few more inches of snow overnight we can expect these wind slabs to have gained in depth and mass. The deeper, more dangerous pockets will be found on slopes with a westerly tilt at and above tree line where these slabs are resting on a smooth and supportable crust.  At higher elevations where the crust is not present, there is some uncertainty as to how well this most recent snow is bonding.  It will be sensible today to pay attention to any red flags including shooting cracks, whumphing or recent avalanches.  These are your bulls-eye clues that instability in the snowpack exists.

            Shooting crack in shallow wind slab at 2500'.  Jan. 30th, 2013.  Petes North

Secondary Concern

This problem has been dormant for some time now.  It’s unlikely this most recent storm will provide enough of a punch to wake up this problematic layer.  However, it is prudent to continue to be suspect of steep, shallow and rocky terrain above tree line where it is more likely a human could impact this deeper, weak snow.

Mountain Weather

Forecasted precipitation fell a little flat for us yesterday and last night with the Turnagain pass region only picking up about 1-2” of new snow.  Winds have dropped off substantially overnight as this latest front weakens and moves out of our area. 

This last day of January doesn’t look to be like much of a weather producer in our region.  Temperatures are expected to be in the low 30’s at 1000’, winds light from the east and less than an inch of new snow in the forecast.  Another weak front moves into the gulf tomorrow ushering in a chance for snow/ rain in south central as we head into the weekend.

January 2013 comes to an end with 9.1” of water and 71” of snow (preliminary numbers), most of which fell in the first half of the month.


Fitz will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, February 1st.

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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