Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, February 25th 2013 6:10 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline today.  Above treeline be on the lookout for fresh wind slabs that will be sensitive to the weight of a person or snowmachine.  Below treeline new slabs that formed over the weekend sit on a crust that have the potential to produce avalanches.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1

In the upper elevations winds have been consistently blowing in the upper teens to low 20s out of the East.  Expect to encounter wind slabs up to 18" in depth today in starting zones.  While the new storm snow that fell over the weekend has in general bonded well to old surfaces, the simple act of windloading can and will create areas of unstable snow.  Continued winds out of the East today will help to increase the size of these slabs.  Be on the lookout for snow that looks smooth, rounded and pillowy.  These areas will be most sensitive while the snow is being transported and slabs are forming.  While the predominant wind direction is out of the East, localized winds will blow in a variety of directions.  With this in mind it is important to recognize wind and loading patterns and stay off of slopes that have been recently loaded.

Avalanche Problem 2

A crust that formed prior to the weekend has shown to be a problem in some areas.  Yesterday my partner and I found weak snow just below this new crust to be reactive and unstable in the lower elevations.  While this is not a widespread problem, it is worth paying attention to, especially if you experience collapsing/whoompfing as we did yesterday.

Deeper weak layers that were reactive in tests and have produced several avalanches over the past two weeks have not shown to be a problem recently.  A mid elevation crust (~1,500'-3,000') with weak snow above, and the old weak snow at the ground have been the two layers we have been tracking.   Despite a lack of activity at these layers it is still worth keeping them in mind as they have the potential to re activate in areas where the snowpack is more shallow.

Mountain Weather

Over the past 24 hours the mountains have picked up to 3" of new snow in the Girdwood Valley, with lesser amounts on Turnagain Pass.  Winds have averaged 15 mph out of the East and temps have been in the high teens F at 3,800' and around 32 F at sea level.

Today we should expect to see light snow showers picking up later in the day as another weak low pressure system moves over the forecast area.  Ridgetop winds will blow 20-30 mph out of the East and temps at 1,000' will be in the mid twenties.

The extended outlook calls for more of the same, as an active weather pattern continues to bring modest amounts of snow to the area.


Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, February 26th.

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: May 06, 2018 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of April 20th
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of April 17th
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed as of April 1st.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of May 7th. Happy summer, see ya when the snow flies!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed as of 4/27
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 20th
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed as of 4/27
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed as of April 20th

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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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