Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, January 10th 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 CONSIDERABLE above treeline, where dense slabs 2-3’ in depth sit on top of weak snow. It will take large triggers such as snowmachines or groups of people to initiate an avalanche.  Avalanches in the upper elevations have the potential to be large and destructive today.  

Below treeline, (especially between 1,200-2,000’) the hazard is MODERATE.  Steep terrain, rollovers, and areas with shallow snow are key spots to avoid in the lower elevations today.

Below 1,200’ the snowpack is capped by a thick crust and avalanches are unlikely.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
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.
Avalanche Problem 1

It’s been 5 days since the last significant storm and subsequent avalanche cycle.  In the time since this last storm the weak snowpack has been able to adjust to this newest load.  Each day it becomes more difficult to trigger avalanches.  The weak layers near the bottom of the snowpack have also slowly gained strength.  

However, the problem has not gone away.  Weak snow near the ground continues to show the potential to produce large avalanches.  Potential slab depth ranges from 1 foot in the lower elevations to 3 feet near ridge lines.  

The potential also exists for avalanches to propagate across entire slopes.  Because of these factors, it is important to continue to treat all slopes, especially above 35 degrees, with suspicion.  The obvious warning signs (recent avalanches, shooting cracks, collapsing) will potentially not show themselves.  Now is a time when it is important to know what is below the surface.  When entering avalanche terrain it is important to practice good travel habits; expose only one person at a time, stop in islands of safety, and communicate plans within your group.

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have received a trace of new snow.  Ridgetop winds have been light out of a variety of directions averaging 3mph with gusts to 11mph.  Temperatures have been on a slight decline with current ridgetop stations reading 15-18 degrees F.

Today expect cloudy skies with occasional flurries.  Winds will be light out of the NW at 5-10mph. Temperatures will warm into the high 20s F at 1,000’.

The long term outlook calls for a continuation of cloudy conditions with only light precipitation and a gradual cooling pattern.  The next chance for more significant precipitation looks to be towards the middle of next week.

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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