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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, January 11th 2014
Created: Jan 11th 6:54 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
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The Bottom Line

Specific areas above treeline remain CONSIDERABLE because we believe very large human triggered avalanches can still be initiated.  Test pit results have not improved since the storm last weekend.  Finding avalanches today will be unlikely unless traveling in steep terrain.  Trigger points, where the weak layer can be collapsed at a shallow point in the slab, may be hard to find.  However, if this were to happen today the resulting avalanche may take the entire slope at 2-3 feet deep.

 

Below treeline is a MODERATE danger, where we are still experiencing collapsing (whumphing).  Steep pockets, even at lower elevations should be approached with some caution.  


Primary Concern

The persistent slab is a problem that doesn't go away quickly.  The last major storm was on Sunday, almost a week ago.  Since that storm, when many large avalanches were recorded, we haven't seen a lot of avalanche activity.  This is mostly due to a lack of triggers (people) in the backcountry this week.  However, the problem has been bad enough to warrant an extended stretch of elevated danger ratings.  Our test pits performed every day this week have not shown appreciable improvents in the strength or propagation potential of the snowpack.  Check this video for a test done yesterday on Pete's North.

It's worth recapping some of our recent avalanche activity to pick out the trends.  Avalanches have been triggering remotely, often from ridges and propagating across large distances.  Wind blown ridges offer a trigger point where the snowpack is shallow and a person's weight is more likely to collapse the buried weak layer.  In deeper areas, a collapse may still be caused by a larger trigger such as a snowmachine or a group of people.  Avalanches have been observed on all aspects (N, S, E, and W), and elevations from just below treeline to >3500 feet.  Few people have ventured into higher elevation steep terrain, which is a good self-preservation tactic right now.

Standard warning signs such as whumphing, shooting cracks, or avalanches on small indicator slopes are unlikely right now.  Avoiding steep terrain is the only effective management tool we have to deal with the current problem.


Mountain Weather

No new snow has accumulated in the last 24 hours.  The last major storm ended on Sunday.  This week has been mild weather with warm temperatures, little precipitation, and light wind.

Today we can expect mostly cloudy skies, highs in the mid 20s.  Mostly light wind.

The next storm system may arrive by the middle of the coming week.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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: Mar 28, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenPlacer remains open but SKOOKUM DRAINAGE will close to motorized use on April 1st.
Skookum Drainage: OpenSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSES TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: Open
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.


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
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