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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Wednesday, December 28th 2011
Created: Dec 28th 6:53 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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The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, December 28th 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).


BOTTOM LINE
The avalanche danger is MODERATE for wind slabs, and cornices. Watch for localized problems in areas where the wind has been blowing the recent cold light powder into deeper and stiffer pockets. Areas sheltered from the wind will have only loose snow sluffing issues.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Just to be clear on the avalanche problem today, I consider it to be obvious and manageable if approached with respect. The soft slabs that are forming in the cold dry powder from the last week should be showing their character in obvious signs. If the loose powder changes suddenly to a more cohesive slab that shoots cracks in front of your skis or sled, then its time to investigate further. These soft slabs have potential to entrain more snow on the way down gulleys or steeper slopes, but they wont be producing wide propagation or deep and destructive avalanches.

The stiff and unpredictable slabs you might find today are cornices. Yesterday we found well developed cornices above the West facing bowls of Seattle ridge. In some places they were peeling away from the edge, leaving yawning crevasse-like cracks near to the edge of the ridge. These features are unstable, dangerous, and deserve more extra room than you might think. It could take just an extra 150 pounds of force to release several thousand pounds of snow onto the steep slope below.

If you find the shooting cracks, consider checking the depth of the cracking. Is it only the top 6-12 inches of light density fluff, or does it go deeper into older layers? Shooting cracks are an indication of an unstable slab layer, but that layer could be only a shallow and minor variation to the softer snow around it. As always, keep your guard up when the consequences below you become more severe. It only takes a small avalanche to become a problem when it drags you over cliffs or into anCNFAIC Staff type of terrain trap.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Cold temperatures and a chance of snow will persist for the near future. The recent weather over the holiday weekend brought small amounts of cold dry snow to Turnagain Arm and the Kenai, and that trend will continue. Yesterday we had minor snow showers with wind up to 47mph recorded on Sunburst. The light density snow is easily blown around with even minor wind, so expect the snow to be moved in exposed areas. Today, 2-4 inches of snow is possible with temperatures below 20 and light to moderate wind.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Thursday morning. 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: Nov 18, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
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.


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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