Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, December 4th 2013 7:00 am by Graham Predeger
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains LOW in our region as we have seen no significant, contributing weather since November 26th/ 27th.  High elevation steep terrain could still be harboring shallow wind slabs but people don’t appear to be traveling in these areas due to more obvious hazards associated with our shallow, early season snowpack.

 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.
Special Announcement

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for our second Fireside Chat of the season!  Next up, Fitz will present on “Human Factors in the Backcountry” Tuesday December 10th at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood.  More details can be found on the calendar above.

Avalanche Problem 1

Yesterday was another somewhat un-inspiring day in the backcountry in terms of avalanche activity.  To date our snowpack above 2000’ is shallow and made up of very weak snow that lacks any sort of cohesive slab.  Without that slab component, we simply are not seeing avalanches in our area.  At lower elevations, stout crusts that were so prevalent and annoying a week ago are decomposing, lending to improved surface conditions.

Though the skiing leaves much to be desired, it is worth a jaunt into our backcountry facet-farm simply to get eyes on what will be the foundation of our 2013/14 seasonal snowpack.  There are some fun turns to be had in this recycled powder snow, just be mindful of what the ski industry refers to as “early season hazards”. 

The faceting process looks to continue in the near future as temperature gradients in our shallow snowpack are well within the limits to promote facet growth.

Average snowpack depths:
Above treeline, 15-30"
Below treeline, 12-15"

Mountain Weather

The temperature inversion remained in place yesterday, though wasn’t quite as extreme as we saw at the beginning of the week.  Ridge top temperatures did stay below freezing and continued a slow slide down toward what we would consider more normal December temperatures yesterday.  Winds were light and variable as a high deck of clouds moved into our area from the south mid-day.

We can expect increased clouds in our region today though winds will remain light and variable.  Temperatures look to be moderating throughout the day, as colder low elevation air will continue to be scoured out and replaced by a slightly warmer air mass. 

Models show a slight chance of mixed precipitation tonight and into tomorrow for the Anchorage area, but given the general flow pattern and forecasted amounts its unlikely that the eastern Turnagain arm region will see much more than a few flakes.  

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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