Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, November 30th 2013
Created: Nov 30th 6:34 am
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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
Deuter USA
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.  

The Bottom Line

An overall LOW danger dominates Turnagain Pass.  The possible exception is areas with stiff wind slab near ridge tops where a strong wind has been blowing since Thursday.  The nature of our current snowpack is weak snow over weak snow, making avalanche activity difficult to initiate unless the surface snow is noticeably stiffer and denser.  

Primary Concern

The general snowpack structure consists of a weak base with a slightly stronger (but still weak) upper layer of snow that fell last Thursday, Nov 21st.  The most concern can be found in areas that have been wind loaded in the last couple days, with a stiff and cohesive wind slab.  There is still some evidence visible from natural avalanche activity caused by the wind.  All avalanche activity that we have seen in the last 2 days has followed this pattern.

Leeward facing slopes, which are predominately southeast and east faces but may include other aspects, are the primary concern today.  The thin and shallow snowpack makes all avalanche activity low volume, but exposed rocks and trees create an additional hazard that we don't experience most of the winter.   

Check out Wendy's observation from Thursday with more pictures of some of that wind loading action. 

Mountain Weather

Clear and cold weather persists across the region.  Temperatures this morning hover around zero F.  A few weather stations are reading higher, and a few are reading lower.  Wind at the ridgetops is expected to remain 15-30mph from the North.  

This pattern is expected to to stay with us through the weekend.  A warming trend is forecasted to start on Sunday with precipitation (hopefully) by Tuesday.

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

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
© 2017 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.