Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, December 8th 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

We continue to have an overall LOW avalanche danger in the mountains surrounding Turnagain Pass. Pockets of MODERATE danger may develop mid-day with surface warming on sunny slopes. Human triggered avalanches are unlikely except in isolated areas where wet point release avalanches may become possible. These isolated areas are steep (more than 40deg) slopes with a southerly aspect.

 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

Please join us for the next installment of our FREE Fireside Chat series, “Human Factors in the Backcountry”  Tuesday December 10th at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood.  More details can be found by clicking on the 'Calendar' tab above.

Avalanche Problem 1

During the past two days we have seen a handful of wet point release avalanches due to our unseasonably warm spring-like weather. Yesterday they were confined to steep sunny slopes during the middle part of the day where the sun - yes, even as low as it is right now - was able to melt the surface crusts. Similar conditions should be on the radar today. This is a fairly straightforward avalanche problem to manage. Steer clear of any steep slope with wet, mushy and unsupportable snow. The clear skies overnight have likely refrozen the melted surfaces from yesterday but the sun coupled with the ambient above freezing temperatures may be enough to melt these southerly aspects again. 

Photo below is a wet point release avalanche on Tincan from yesterday 12/7 (SW, 3,500'). VIDEO HERE.

The slope has to be quite steep (over 40deg) for these avalanches to initiate but once they do they can gain enough momentum and run quite far. Debris can also be funneled through steep gullies and this can become a very real hazard for ice climbers. A report was sent in from the Portage Valley on Friday of an older debris pile near a popular ice climbing area.

Mountain Weather

Valley fog covers most low-lying areas this morning as it did yesterday. Above the fog, skies are mostly clear and temperatures warm, in the 30'sF. Sunburst is reporting 38F at 6am and should remain in the 30'sF for the day along with most mid and upper elevations. Skies should be sunny today - again, above the fog - and winds light from the west.

This should be the last day of spring-like weather. Starting Monday cooler temperatures move in and Tuesday we have a chance for a few flurries as a weak system brushes by us from the west. It does not look like we will accumulate much in the order of snow with this system.


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, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of 5/6. Thanks for a great season all, see you next winter!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3.22.19 due to lack of snow
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19 due to lack of snow
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClose as of 5.1.2019
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
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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