Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, January 3rd 2014 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above treeline today.  Steep slopes on a variety of aspects above treeline should be treated with caution.  Large triggers such as snowmachines or groups of riders will increase the chances of triggering slabs up to 2 feet in depth.  Below treeline (especially below 1,800’) the avalanche hazard is LOW, where the snowpack is capped by a thick crust.

 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.
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.
Avalanche Problem 1

The snowpack around Turnagain Pass is not typical for this time of year.  November and December were dry months with close to record lows in terms of snowfall.  Clear and cold conditions helped to weaken the snow that was sitting on the ground.  This is what comprises the foundation of the snowpack.  

The New Year brought the first significant storm of the season.  This storm started warm & wet and finished cool & dry.  This is what we call a “right side up” storm.  This newest snow has since bonded well to the old snow surface.  

Despite this, we still have that weak snow lurking deeper in the snowpack. It will be possible to get onto slopes without seeing the normal warning signs of shooting cracks or experiencing collapsing.  This is a tricky set up that requires conservative travel practices and digging/testing the snow below the surface.

It will be generally difficult to initiate an avalanche today.  However, the possibility still exists for humans to trigger an avalanche in deeper layers, especially in steep terrain.

(Photo below taken in the afternoon on January 2nd.  These avalanches occured during the day and were triggered remotely by 2 skiers.  Click HERE for more info)

Tincan av 1-2-14.  

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have received zero precip.  Winds have been calm and temperatures have been in the low 20s F.

Today expect cloudy skies and snow showers mainly in the morning.  Snow accumulations will be light, in the 1-2” range.  Winds will also be light out of the South at 5-10mph.

A well orgainzed Low pressure system to the South will bring warm and wet conditions to the area over the weekend.  Heaviest precip amounts look to be arriving Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

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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