Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Wednesday, February 6th 2013
Created: Feb 6th 6:08 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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
Anchorage Snowmobile Club
Special Announcement

We have a few spots open in our non-motorized backcountry observer training day this Saturday, February 9th.  Check our calendar page for more information.  Join the forecasters for a day in the backcountry and learn how to contribute snow and avalanche observations to your local avalanche center.

The Bottom Line

 Aging wind slabs at high elevation keep our concern at MODERATE above treeline.  The stability trend today is steady, with a small amount of snow in the forecast.  Small avalanches are possible in specific steep terrain.  Below treeline several hard melt/freeze layers are locking the snowpack in place and keeping the danger LOW.  We have few reports of avalanche activity from the last several days, but a blizzard watch for tomorrow will keep our stability short lived.

Primary Concern

The pictures below show an example of our primary concern.  Wind slabs have been reactive to natural and human triggers over the last few days.  After yesterday's calm weather it will be less likely to find this problem today.  It may be possible to find reactive wind slabs in steep and complex terrain greater than 35 degrees. 

Patterns of recent wind slabs have shown mostly small avalanches, breaking 6-18 inches deep.  A mid-elevation band between 2000 and 2500 feet places the wind slab on top of a slick melt/freeze crust.  I'm more concerned about terrain above 3000 feet today because that's where we find more of our steeper pitches.  Cross loaded steep gullies in consequential terrain on all aspects should be treated with respect.

Cornices are another form of windslab, with an unsupported overhanging nature.  Now that we've reached mid winter, cornices are getting large and mature.  As always, they should never be trusted and only approached with caution.  The wind slab in the pictures was likely triggered by a naturally failing cornice.


Mountain Weather

No snow yesterday, mostly sunny skies, pleasant temperatures in the mid to high 20s, and light wind made for a great day in the mountains. 

Today, a few inches of snow is forecasted this morning.  Temperatures should be just below freezing at sea level.  Wind is expected to be 10mph or less.  Snowfall will decrease this afternoon leaving mostly cloudy skies.

A blizzard watch is in effect starting Thursday afternoon.  Stay tuned as we track the development of this storm.

Graham will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, February 7th.


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: Apr 11, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenWide swaths of open river in the Placer Valley. Travel with extreme caution!
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed for the remainder of the 2017 season.
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

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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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