Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, April 5th 2013 6:42 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Sunny skies and warm temperatures this afternoon will again bring a late day increase in avalanche danger.  This morning will start with a LOW avalanche danger, increasing to MODERATE by the late afternoon.  

South facing slopes with the most solar exposure during the day will be the greatest concern.  Shaded north aspects are a better bet for finding quality snow.

 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

The wet avalanche problem was worse just a few days ago.  At this point the cold freezing overnight is creating a stiff crust on the snow surface that takes time for the solar radiation to melt and penetrate into deeper layers.  Roller balls and other signs of instability at the surface show up more quickly in powder snow than in our current crust.  That being said, sunny skies and warm temperatures can be the trigger for avalanches this afternoon.  Travel decisions should be adjusted accordingly to limit exposure to south facing slopes late in the day.  

With freezing overnight, the temperatures in the deeper snowpack remain relatively cold.  We are not yet reaching the isothermal status where larger and deeper avalanches are expected.

Avalanche Problem 2

These are pictures of the Goat couloir avalanche from Tuesday, a great example of the worst case scenario right now.  This appears to be a very large cornice failure, which triggered a slab below and to the side of the cornice.  The resulting avalanche traveled far for this path.  

Cornices will become less stable in the afternoon as the sun heats them up and weakens their overhanging structure.

Mountain Weather

Several days of clear skies and strong temperature swings between day and night are creating a melt/freeze cycle on the snow surface.  Temperatures last night dipped to the mid teens at 4000 feet elevation after reaching above freezing during the day.  At sea level peak daytime temperatures hit the low 40s in some areas.  Wind has been light, and we haven't had any precipitation in several days.

Today's weather looks like more of the same, but a change is expected tonight.  Snowfall is in the forecast for the weekend and into next week.

Fitz will issue the next advisory Saturday, April 6th.


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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