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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, December 21st 2013
Created: Dec 21st 6:26 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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Special Announcement

Happy solstice!  Our daylight hours will be GAINING from now on.


The Bottom Line

Human triggered avalanches have been reported in the last 24 hours.  The most significant that we know of is this report from Summit.  Snowpack structure remains poor, and red flags such as whoomphing are common if you break trail.  

The danger rating is MODERATE for persistent slab concerns, especially in areas that have a stiffer wind slab on the surface.  Natural avalanches are unlikely but human triggered avalanches are possible in steep terrain.  


Primary Concern

The interface that we have found most likely to fail is around the early December freezing-drizzle crust.  This layer is now buried 12-18 inches or deeper in wind loaded areas.  See this observation for a pit profile.  Every new bit of snow adds stress to those layers, but we haven't had any large storms to overload the snowpack to widespread failure - meaning no large natural avalanche cycle.  This leaves some areas on the brink of failure, waiting for a trigger to release that energy.  A lot of people have noticed widespread whoomphing as the layers collapse when a person walks or rides on the snow.  In a few cases the slope was steep enough to avalanche when that collapse happened.  

A small amount of new snow today will add to the stress in the snowpack, but probably not enough to cause natural avalanches.  The overall avalanche problem today will be similar to the last few days.  

Photos from Tenderfoot, above Summit Lake from Friday.


Mountain Weather

A little bit of snow fell overnight.  About 2 inches of new are on the ground as of 6am.  A moderate east wind has been steady through the night, gusting to a peak of 27 at Sunburst.  

Another 2 inches of snow is expected to fall through the day today.  Temperatures are approaching freezing, and may pass that mark at lower elevations.  A freezing rain advisory is in effect, mainly in the interior Kenai from Turnagain pass to Moose pass.  

 

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 16, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedThanks all for a safe and fun season on the Chugach NF! Stay tuned for the 2017/18 season. #playsafe #snowtosealevel
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail will be 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.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
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