Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, February 21st 2014 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline today.  Slabs up to 3 feet in depth could be triggered by skiers and snowmachiners on steep slopes.  The likelihood of triggering an avalanche has been on the decline over the last five days.  The consequences, however remain serious due to slab depths.

This low likelihood/high consequence scenario is a scary version of MODERATE hazard.  It will be possible to get onto steeper terrain without incident.  It will also be possible to trigger an avalanche in steep terrain.  The fact remains that there is a 1-3 foot thick slab sitting on a weak layer in many areas.  Being able to anticipate which slopes will avalanche and which slopes will hold together is very difficult at this time.

Sticking to terrain under 35 degrees will allow for a fun enjoyable day in the mountains today.

 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.
Special Announcement

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Avalanche Problem 1

A layer of weak snow sitting between the January crust and the February snow has the potential to cause problems today.  While this layer has become less reactive over the last week, it is still not trustworthy.  The nature of a persistent weak layer is that it sticks around for a long time.  Unlike storm related instabilities, a layer like this does not heal quickly.  Rather, it lurks below the surface, waiting for the right trigger.  

Areas where you would be most likely to activate this weak layer today are on slopes greater than 35 degrees, steep rollovers, and previously wind loaded pockets.  Sunshine and excellent riding conditions have the potential to lure people onto bigger and steeper terrain.  Don’t let a lack of activity on lower angle slopes allow you to let your guard down.  It is much easier to manage this problem with conservative terrain choices than trying to outsmart this complex instability.

Avalanche Problem 2

On steep sunlit aspects loose snow avalanches will be easy to trigger today.  Expect these to be relatively low volume.  Managing this problem requires awareness of snow moving around you and the ability to get out of its way.  Loose snow sluffs have the potential to knock over skiers and snowboarders (less of an issue for snowachiners).  This issue becomes more serious when terrain traps (e.g. trees, gullies, cliff bands) are below.

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours no new precipitation has fallen.  Ridgetop winds have been light out of a variety of directions averaging 5mph with a max gust of 21mph.  Temperatures at 3,800’ have averaged 9 degrees F.

Today expect mostly clear skies in the morning with clouds developing throughout the day.  Temperatures will climb into the low 20s F at 1,000 feet. Ridgetop winds will be out of the Southeast at 15 mph.

A strengthening area of high pressure to the East and North of us is keeping several Low pressure systems at bay, limiting the chance for precipitation over the next several days.

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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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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.

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