Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, March 8th 2014 7:00 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW in the forecast zone.  Avalanche activity is unlikely, with a couple possible exceptions.  

The areas where uncertainty exists and unstable snow could be found include - high elevations above 4000 feet, and overhanging cornice features.

Snow quality remains less than ideal with a dusting of soft snow from Wednesday on top of supportable crust.  For somebody wanting to cover a lot of ground in a hurry, current conditions are great due to ease of travel on the hard surface.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
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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Avalanche Problem 1

"Locked in place" has been our common theme over the last week.  The snowpack has gone through many temperature swings- melting to refreezing- and now sits frozen, hard, and strong.  The strength of the snowpack without the presence of any active weak layers makes for stable conditions and unlikely avalanche activity.  

The warm temperatures that caused the melting didn't go much higher than 4000 feet.  Consequently, we can't say the same generalizations about the higher peaks.  You are more likely to find softer snow and possible unstable snow in these areas that escaped the rain and warm temperatures.  

Avalanche Problem 2

It is March, and our sun exposure is getting to be significant.  South facing slopes are getting just enough solar heat to cause "roller balls" during the afternoon.  Overhanging cornices, which tend to be large and mature this time of year, should be approached with caution or avoided all together.  No matter how stable the general snowpack is, cornices can be the exception.

Mountain Weather

The last shot of measureable snow (1-2") was on Wednesday.  That storm offered significantly more to Anchorage and Hatcher pass.  Since then the weather has been mild with below freezing temperatures and light wind.  

Look for sunny skies this morning and increasing clouds towards the afternoon.  Variable wind to 10mph.  Temperatures reaching the low 30s during the day.

...WINTER STORM WATCH FOR HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY EVENING NORTH OF MOOSE PASS...!  Yaaay! Snowfall amounts are likely 6-12 inches, possibly 18 inches in some areas.  


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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