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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, March 21st 2012 6:45 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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BROUGHT TO YOU BY
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, March 21st 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
Alpine areas will have a steady MODERATE danger rating because of multiple buried weak layers on all aspects. Late in the day we can expect South faces to progress to CONSIDERABLE if the sun is baking for more than a couple hours. Below treeline will have a generally LOW danger with pockets of MODERATE on sunny South aspects and areas with surface hoar problems. Its a complicated snowpack that may be difficult to manage.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Snowfall on Monday was focused on the Northern Kenai peninsula, which buried a significant new layer of surface hoar and the old sun crust on South faces. Yesterday afternoon we saw a handful of natural slab avalanches within the new storm snow. The character and distribution of those slabs suggests buried surface hoar. The complicated assortment of different snowpack problems deserves a fair bit of thought when deciding where to ride today. Even stable slopes may have a dry sluff potential with fast moving loose snow entraining quite a bit of volume.

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Concern #1 Buried Sun Crust
South faces may look enticing, but the surface crust and buried crusts make them perhaps the most dangerous place to ride. Weve had several reports of skier triggered avalanches on these layers in the last week including one that resulted in serious injuries.

Concern #2 Buried Surface Hoar
Multiple layers of buried surface hoar are widespread and have been implicated in quite a few human triggered avalanches. This problem just got worse, with anCNFAIC Staff layer of surface hoar over the weekend, and anCNFAIC Staff storm that buried it on Monday. These weak layers have been found on all aspects and up to high elevations.

Concern #3 Loose sluff and wet slab
Happy equinox! The sun has some serious punch to it, now that Spring has officially hit. South faces are getting hammered by solar power late in the afternoon. The heat is causing late day wet avalanches and sometimes inducing larger step-downs into the sun-crust layers. Nobody should be traveling on or close underneath South facing slopes late in the day.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
The last snowfall was on Monday when 6-10 inches fell at Turnagain Pass and the Northern Kenai Peninsula. Girdwood did not receive as much snow from this storm. Yesterdays sunny weather built yet anCNFAIC Staff sun crust on the surface of South faces.

Stable weather is expected today. Partly sunny skies, light wind, and temperatures into the lower 30s are forecasted.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Graham 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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
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.

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: Feb 15, 2018 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease access trail thru open gate and park trucks/ trailers along the road toward the trailhead. Please keep the turnaround (near large signboard) clear for vehicles to TURN AROUND!
Placer River: OpenOpen 2/16. Please avoid private property and AKRR job site at Luebner Lake. Cross railroad tracks if needed, do not ride down tracks, it is illegal.
Skookum Drainage: OpenOpen 2/16. Please avoid private property and AKRR job site at Luebner Lake. Cross railroad tracks if needed, do not ride down tracks, it is illegal.
Turnagain Pass: OpenPlease avoid riding on “Rookie Hill“ and other areas with exposed vegetation. Thank you!
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: OpenOpen 2/16.
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: OpenResurrection Pass trail is open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
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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