Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, March 16th 2013 6:33 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Stability is excellent across the region, and avalanche danger will start off the day as LOW at all elevations.  The small amount of new snow 2 days ago did build some shallow windslabs, but nothing very notable or dangerous was reported yesterday.  Late in the day south aspects should be approached with more caution if the temperature ramps up today.  Wet loose avalanches are possible due to sun exposure at lower elevations. 

Get out and enjoy the backcountry this weekend.  Snow quality is variable, but pockets of powder can be found if you avoid the sun crust. 

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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.
Avalanche Problem 1

Small pockets of wind slab were found occasionally yesterday from the 4-5 inches of new snow that fell on Thursday.  Loose snow sluff in the non-wind affected snow was also common, but less of an issue if you use good sluff management technique.  Wind slab is most likely found at higher elevations, below ridgetops, and in steep terrain.  Both the slabs and the sluffs are shallow and low volume, so as avalanches by themselves they are not a huge concern.  The bigger concern is related to the consequences of the terrain such as cliffs or no-fall zones. 

Cornices remain a low probability but high consequence avalanche problem.  These large overhanging features have the potential to produce the largest avalanches today.  Choose your lines to avoid cornice exposure, and always give them a wide berth when traveling on ridge crests.

Avalanche Problem 2

It's mid March already.  The sun has some significant power that has already built a series of crusts on south facing slopes.  As the temperatures rise this afternoon, wet loose snow may start to move at lower elevations on south exposures.  Cold temperatures this morning may delay the wet cycle, and any cloud cover will also prevent the surface snow from warming.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday was one of those perfect Alaska days.  Today looks like more of the same.  Temperatures are cold this morning, reaching negative temperatures in a few places.  Most areas are comfortably in the teens.  As soon as the sun hits we can expect rising temperatures for the rest of the day.  Partly cloudy skies are forecasted.  Wind should be almost non-existent. 

We can expect a similar weather pattern for the rest of the week with no major storms on the horizon. 

Wendy will issue the next advisory on Sunday, March 17th.

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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