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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Friday, January 27th 2012
Created: Jan 27th 6:54 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 Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, January 27th 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 remains MODERATE for triggering a wind slab avalanche on slopes with recent wind deposited snow. Slabs that formed during yesterday's moderate winds may still be sensitive to a person's weight today. Additionally, watch for shallow soft slabs (formed in the denser snow that fell yesterday) that may crack out from you on steeper slopes.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Winds kicked up a bit yesterday for the first time in a couple of days - averaging 20mph and gusting into the 30's on the Turnagain Pass ridges. One report commented on wind effect and loading in exposed locations above treeline but no avalanche activity has been seen. Obscured skies kept observations limited yet weather stations suggest the wind was more behaved in the Girdwood and Summit areas.

Today, wind slabs, which likely formed yesterday and still sensitive to the weight of a person, will be the primary concern. These are most likely to be found just off the ridgelines, on rollovers and cross loaded near sub-ridges and gullies. Watching for rounded wind pillows and drifts as well as cracking around your snowmachine and board(s) will be the best way to identify these 'slabs'. Small to medium fresh cornices may be possible to break off today as well.

Areas without wind and below treeline may see some cohesiveness in the upper 4-6" of the pack from the denser snow that fell yesterday. This has probably settled out in most areas, but where it has not a shallow soft slab could be triggered, yet the slope angle would need to be quite steep. CNFAIC Staffwise, a generally LOW danger exists in areas that have not seen wind effect.

Note: There is scattered buried surface hoar in lower elevation drainages (below 1500-2000'). This is more prominent in the Girdwood Valley and northern side of Turnagain Pass and, what seems to be, less so in the southern Turnagain region. Our investigations yesterday on Max's Mountain found it moderately reactive around 1500'. Collapsing, but no cracking/avalanching has been seen/reported on this layer to date - yet the layer exists and a person could get a surprise on a lower elevation rollover.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Snow showers covered most of the Girdwood and Turnagain Pass area yesterday with anCNFAIC Staff 4" of cold (and slightly more dense) snow accumulating. Temperatures were chilly in the single digits and winds picked up from the east, averaging around 20mph and gusting into the 30's for most of the day at the Sunburst weather station.

Today, the low pressure that has been parked in PWS, which has spilled easterly ridgetop flow our way and allowed for light snow showers, will weaken and move south. Winds have already decreased and are variable around 5-10mph. Skies have cleared overnight and temperatures have dropped to below 0F at almost every weather station this morning. Skies should continue to clear through the day, temperatures will stay cold and light variable winds are expected on the peaks.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Kevin will issue the next advisory Saturday 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: Apr 11, 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: OpenWide swaths of open river in the Placer Valley. Travel with extreme caution!
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed for the remainder of the 2017 season.
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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