Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Thursday, January 2nd 2014 7:00 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

New snow is still the big news for today.  The News Years eve storm produced an active avalanche cycle with natural avalanches during the peak of the wind and precipitation.  We are now on the decreasing trend of that spike in avalanche danger, but caution is still warranted.  

Avalanches were sometimes breaking in the old deeper layers, stripping out to crusts and facets from early season.  Other times they were isolated to the wind-blown storm snow, which was 2+ feet in drifted areas.  

Avalanches that we recorded yesterday - Eddies, Magnum, Cornbiscuit, Seattle ridge, Kern.  Explosive triggers produced slides into the D3 size range.

The challenge today is trying to predict how quickly our snowpack is adjusting and stabilizing to the new load.  Today will be more stable than yesterday, but some problems will be lurking...

MODERATE  avalanche danger will be found today, with steeper wind loaded slopes as the primary concern.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
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.
Special Announcement

With the new year we want to thank everyone for making the CNFAIC a reality.  We couldn't do it without the strong support from the community.  

We also want to pass on a reminder to apply for your PFD and consider using Pick. Click. Give. to donate to your local avalanche center.  If you find that this service is valuable to you, please become a member of the nonprofit Friends of the CNFAIC.

Avalanche Problem 1

A lot of that storm snow from Dec 31st and Jan 1st came in with substantial wind.  Early in the storm we had several hours of gusts to 90mph or greater on Sunburst.  This means the storm snow is unevenly distributed, and the major problem lies in areas where the snow got drifted rather than scoured by the wind.  

Around Turnagain Pass the predominant wind direction was from the East.  West slopes and crossloaded North and South are the primary concern.  

Storm total amounts - starting Dec 31st

Turnagain Pass - 1.2" H2O - 12" snow

Alyeska mid - 1.64" H2O - 14" snow

Alyeska top - 2.74" H2O  

Avalanche Problem 2

When venturing into untracked snow yesterday we noticed a number of collapses (whumphing).  Deep shooting cracks were also evident.  These collapses are almost certainly happening in older weak layers, in the snow that fell in November or December.  The larger avalanches that happened yesterday had the greater volume because they are stripping deeper into the snowpack.  Deeper and more destructive avalanches will be less likely today, but present a greater concern to the backcountry traveler if one is triggered.  

Any collapsing felt today is a significant message and should be telling you to stay off nearby steep slopes.  

Mountain Weather

The last 24 hours have brought calmer weather.  Precipitation decreased significantly, but at least 3 inches of snow fell in the last 24 hours.  Wind has steadily dropped from strong yesterday to mild this morning.  Temperatures have also consistently decreased by a couple of degrees.

Mostly cloudy skies and snow showers are expected today.  Minimal snow accumulation.  Freezing rain is possible at the road elevation.  Look for light wind and steady temperatures in the 20s.  

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.

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