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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, November 26th 2011
Created: Nov 26th 6:50 am
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.
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Roger Hickel Contracting
The Bottom Line
Good morning this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, November 26th at 7am. This will serve as 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Turnagain Pass is now open to winter motorized use from Ingram Creek to Bertha creek Campground. All CNFAIC Staff motorized areas in the District will remain closed including Johnson Pass, Placer, and 20 mile due to lack of adequate snow coverage. Overall snow depth at Turnagain Pass is adequate yet marginal. Riders should be aware of exposed natural hazards consistent with early season riding.

BOTTOM LINE
Im bumping the overall danger rating to MODERATE today because of the recent new snow and the possibility of building wind slab today. Wind transported snow at upper elevations is my primary concern if the wind picks up today. If that happens, watch where the snow is blowing and avoid those areas of concern. In the absence of significant wind the hazard should remain Low.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
All the recent snow is contributing to raise the avalanche danger. We still feel generally good about the conditions right now, but subtle changes in the weather could quickly create a more hazardous scenario. The cold dry snow is loose and evenly distributed through the region. It wont take much wind to move a lot of that snow in a short period of time. Be especially aware today if the wind picks up and starts to load the leeward slopes. The wind is predicted to hit 20-30mph near Seward and Whittier. These are ideal conditions to blow snow off the ridges into avalanche start zones.

Our pits yesterday again confirmed what we have been finding over the last week. Most of our snowpack is loose and relatively weak snow. Areas near ridgetops have an older buried stiff windslab, but it doesnt seem to be moving under human weight. It still feels spooky when you travel across it. In some places it supports your weight, with thinner spots breaking underneath as you travel across. Shooting cracks are possible where that slab breaks, but weve only seen it in very isolated circumstances. This stiff windslab is sitting on top of weaker facets, which is theoretically a bad combination. I think the missing links right now are a substantial slab layer, and significant stress. The recent light dry snow doesnt contribute much to either of those factors.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Yesterday was fairly snowy from Girdwood to Turnagain Pass. 4-7 inches fell in the last 24 hours, which brings the week total up to about a foot, with settled depth of 8-12 inches of light dry powder. This snow has all fallen during cold temperatures and very little wind. Today, snow showers in the morning should give way to partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Generally light wind with isolated areas up to 30mph near Seward and Whittier.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast


Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

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: Jan 18, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenAccess is thru the gate on the right side of the parking lot as you drive toward the outhouse. Please park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenPlease cross Railroad tracks at 90 degrees to the rails and clear the corridor. It is Illegal to ride up and down Railroad tracks. Tracks are currently active. Please observe and stay off PRIVATE PROPERTY adjacent to the Portage Valley.
Skookum Drainage: Open
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: OpenPark at Portage rail depot. Cross tracks and follow marked corridor (Bamboo poles) approx. 3 miles up Valley to open riding areas.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenOpen to motorized use 1/15. Please STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenOpen to motorized use 1/15. Please 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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