Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, April 5th 2013
Created: Apr 5th 6:42 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.
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.
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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.

Primary Concern

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.

Secondary Concern

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: 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.

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