Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, December 27th 2013
Created: Dec 27th 6:20 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.
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
Special Announcement

Check out this Kickstarter project for an all female ski movie.  The project will include filming within our own Chugach National Forest, and will have local talent in the cast.  It will be used as an educational tool for avalanche awareness trainings with SheJumps.  The project is soliciting support and has 20 days to the deadline.

The Bottom Line

Continued red flags, including whoomphing (collapsing) in the snowpack are keeping the danger rating at MODERATE above treeline. Steeper slopes should be approached with caution, as the slab/weak layer problem is well understood.  Despite the duration we've had without new snow, lingering instability is keeping us wary of steeper terrain.

Snow is forecasted for this evening, meaning a small increase in the avalanche danger is expected tomorrow.  

Primary Concern

The poor structure of the snowpack is the culprit behind the collapsing that's keeping us worried.  The most reactive layers we've been seeing are the facets above the early December "drizzle" crust (see pit profile here).  This layer is showing a tendency to propagate in some pit tests, and we believe it is the big player in most of the recent natural and skier triggered avalanches. 

Check out Fitz's video for a discussion of managing the Moderate problem on Thursday.



Secondary Concern

There remains some evidence of wind slab avalanche activity from the wind storm on Monday.  On Thursday we found numerous mid slope crown lines near Crow Pass from avalanches that presumably happened during that wind event.  We can expect some areas to be holding stiff wind slab that didn't slide spontaneously, but may be triggered by a person hitting a trigger point.  

Mountain Weather

Weather has been consistently benign since Monday with cold, clear, and calm conditions.  Temperatures are a little warmer at the ridgetops today, so don't let cold Anchorage temperatures keep you at home today.  

Look for increasing clouds today, and snowfall is expected to commence tonight in Eastern Turnagain Arm.  Up to 4-8 inches of snow is in the forecast for tonight!  

The storm will be short lived as the front sweeps across southcentral Alaska, with snow tapering Saturday morning and ending.

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: Apr 11, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenWide swaths of open river in the Placer Valley. Travel with extreme caution!
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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