Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, November 29th 2013 7:00 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Pockets of MODERATE avalanche danger exist on steep, upper elevation slopes with recent wind loading. Winds have been consistently strong from the northwest and forming stiff, stubborn slabs in the foot deep category. Areas of most concern are steep slopes, approaching 40+deg, on south and easterly aspects. Otherwise, there is a LOW avalanche danger in areas without recent wind deposited snow.

Below treeline the danger remains LOW where 1-2ft of loose snow is capped by a breakable crust.

 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.
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.
Special Announcement

All of Chugach National Forest remains closed to off-road motorized use due to a lack of sufficient snow cover.  Snowmachines will be permitted when the snow is deep enough to protect the ground underneath.

We need a couple more feet, give or take. Snow stake at Turnagain Pass shows one foot of snow.  

Avalanche Problem 1

Ah, the pesky northwest winds. These rolled in Wednesday night and blew much of the 3-6" of new light snow either back to the atmosphere (sublimation) or into hard and stiff wind slabs. As can be seen in the picture below, the snow surface is a mixed bag of wind effect above treeline.

Photo: Seattle Ridge ~2,500ft

There were a few natural wind slab avalanches seen that likely released Wednesday night along with the onset of the wind. These were fairly small in size and on easterly aspects above 3000ft. The largest slab seen was on a SE facing slope around 3500ft - photo below. This is a classic catchment zone for the predominant NW flow.

For anyone getting out into the Alpine today, watch for areas of recent wind deposited snow and cracking around you. The slabs we found yesterday were scattered near ridgelines and stiff and stubborn - meaning hard to crack and release. However, in steep terrain these could pose a real issue by letting a person get out onto the slab before it releases. Even small slabs can be a problem if they knock you off your feet and down a steep rocky chute for example. Yet, most of us are waiting for more snow before getting into these places.

Mountain Weather

Cold, clear and windy describes both yesterday's weather conditions and as well as today's. Over the past 24 hours temperatures continue to hover in the single digits in most locations while they are dipping down to the minus single digits above 3,000ft. We should not see much of a warm up, if any, in temperature throughout the day. The frigid Northwest winds have not backed off a whole lot and are forecast to continue to blow in the 10-15 mph range with gusts in the 30's. It should be a bright sunny day however!

Our next shot of snow is on the distant horizon. There is a system forecast to move through for the middle of next week. As to what track it takes and how much snow we might get, it is still too far out to tell.


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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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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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