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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Sunday, January 29th 2012
Created: Jan 29th 6:57 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, January 29th 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 in specific wind loaded pockets in steep terrain. We saw one example on Friday of a significant avalanche in a cross loaded South facing gully. Much of the region where most people are skiing, on terrain up to about 38 degrees, has a LOW avalanche danger.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
No major news yesterday is keeping the status quo in the backcountry again today. Saturday was a busy day in Turnagain Pass, with skiers and riders stepping it up a notch in terrain. Sluffing looks to be manageable, although still a factor in steep terrain. Pockets of wind slab are found in the usual areas - near ridgetops and rollovers. We neither saw nor heard of any significant avalanche yesterday like the one from Friday.

Primary Concern Wind loaded pockets in steep terrain.
Larger pockets that might have the ability to propagate into a larger avalanche seem to be rare, but not unheard of. The wind event on Thursday, with ridgetop gusts to about 35mph, formed some slabs of stiffer and cohesive snow. This picture is what we are most concerned about today. Read a description of that avalanche here. The possibility of finding a pocket like this is diminished compared to Friday when that avalanche happened. Despite the infrequent nature of this problem, its worth staying vigilant in case you come across something similar. Watch for stiffer snow in areas steeper than 38 degrees.

Secondary Concern Loose snow sluffing and smaller wind slabs.
This is only a hazard to people in steep and high consequence terrain. We have found the sluffing to be generally manageable and predictable. Small wind slabs are somewhat less predictable than the sluffing, and the manageable nature depends completely on the terrain exposure below. Watch for these areas of stiff surface snow in the top 4-6 inches. Youll know it when you feel it.

New surface hoar formed over the last 2 days all the way to some ridges. This is not a problem now, but could be when it gets buried by the next storm. Stay tuned for further developments


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
A temperature inversion remains in place over most of the region. Skiers and riders yesterday who toughed out the cold at the parking lot and pushed up to sunny ridges were rewarded with comfortable calm conditions up high. Valley bottoms are still negative temps this morning, with positive single digits higher up. Wind is predicted to remain minor again today with mostly cloudy skies.
There is a chance of snow tonight, with increasing possibilities over the next couple days.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Monday 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: Mar 15, 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: Open
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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