Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, February 2nd 2013
Created: Feb 2nd 6:16 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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The Bottom Line

Light snowfall with moderate to strong wind continues to build windslabs up high and is keeping MODERATE danger above treeline.  The likelihood of triggering one of these windslabs is moderate to likely in steep wind loaded terrain, but avalanche size should be small.  Below treeline the concern is LOW and riding conditions are difficult with wet sticky snow and shallow crusts.


Primary Concern

Wind slabs have been popping with skier influence over the last few days, but everything we've seen or heard about has been relatively small and manageable.  The biggest concern is related to higher consequence terrain if someone decides to step it up and gets surprised.  With limited snowfall over the last few days windslabs are 6-18 inches deep and are isolated to wind loaded aspects.  Check the observations page for more recent examples.

Cornices are building and may be more unstable than usual due to high temperatures.  Watch out when approaching the edge of a ridge, especially in flat light conditions.

Secondary Concern

The deep slab problem is a minor concern in most areas.  Below 2500 feet it is unlikely to affect the deeply buried facets through 6 feet of hard slab and crusts.  Above that, especially above 3000 feet, there is more concern for a couple reasons.  The facets up high have not had enough warmth to promote significant bonding and increased strength.  Snow depth is more variable, and shallow areas can be found where the weight of a person could affect those weak layers.  The slopes also tend to be steeper at the upper elevations with more avalanche terrain to navigate.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday it was warm and raining up to near 2000 feet in Turnagain Pass.  Precipitation intensity was low, but the liquid water on top of snow made for sticky skiing below treeline. 

Today's weather looks to be similar with small amounts of precip expected and continued warm temperatures.  Rain is expected at sea level and may reach to above 1000 feet.

An east wind will blow moderate to strong at the ridges, with enough intensity to redistribute snow and create windslabs. Sunburst is reading wind gusts into the mid 40s already this morning.

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning, Feb 3rd.

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: Dec 08, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedRain and snow have fallen in Turnagain Pass this week, but not enough to open for snowmachining. Continue to check back to this site for updates.
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.

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