CNFAIC LogoCNFAIC Logo

Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Thursday, January 9th 2014
Created: Jan 9th 6:43 am
3 Considerable Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
SLR Consulting
The Bottom Line

Persistent slab concerns keep us at CONSIDERABLE above treeline.  The overall stability trend is very slowly improving, but large human triggered avalanches are still likely in specific areas.  Another avalanche near Summit Lake yesterday emphasizes that point.

Slopes above treeline, greater than 35 degrees, and in shallower areas or complex terrain should be avoided.  If an avalanche is triggered today, it is likely to be large, 2-3 feet deep, may be triggered remotely, and cause connected slopes to avalanche sympathetically.  


Primary Concern

The persistent slab problem continues to trend toward less likely, but large high consequence avalanches will result if triggered.  Snow pits are showing mixed results now...  Sometimes the layers are not reacting.  It's worth keeping in mind that all pit information is overruled by other signs and symptoms.  Collapsing, or recent avalanche activity means that the snowpack is inherently unstable, and steeper slopes can slide.  

The photo below is from yesterday on Tenderfoot at Summit lake. Click here for a writeup and another photo. The Summit region is often a poor comparison to Turnagain Pass or Girdwood, but right now it represents what any shallower snowpack areas can do.  This is another remotely triggered avalanche, one of many in the past week.

Recent snowfall (over 2 feet of wet snow in the last 10 days) has now consolidated into a fairly strong and connected slab.  This is good because it is now more difficult for a person's weight to penetrate that dense layer and collapse the weaker snow at or below the drizzle crust.  However, it's bad because the resulting avalanche when a trigger point is found is now larger and more dangerous.  The likelihood of triggering has decreased, but the avalanche size and destructive force has increased.

Trigger points are likely to be shallower wind stripped pockets, possibly close to exposed rocks or trees.  


Mountain Weather

A few inches of snow have accumulated since Tuesday.  In general, the weather has not contributed a lot to the avalanche danger since the larger storm on Saturday/Sunday.

Today, mostly cloudy skies are expected.  Isolated snow showers are in the forecast today and tomorrow, with little accumulation.  Wind should be light.  Temperatures continue in the 20s, with a slight decreasing trend on Friday.  

Watch for aurora displays tonight if the skies are clear enough.  A large solar storm may bring active displays to lower latitudes.  

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

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

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
© 2017 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
FCNFAIC