Snow & Avalanche Weekly Summary

Summit Area
Forecaster:   Other  
Friday, April 11th 2014
Created: Apr 8th 17:55 pm
Summary and Current Conditions

This is the final Summit Avalanche Summary for the season; However, this does not mean that the avalanche season has ended.

With plenty of snow remaining on the ground, avalanche potential continues to be a real concern. See below for more details.

Keep checking the Turnagain Pass advisory page for more detailed local information, which will be active through April 27th.

Primary Concern

SPRINGTIME AVALANCHE TIPS - Timing is everything

- After new snowfall and wind, watch for the first rays of sun to trigger both slab and loose snow avalanches in the new snow.  Avoiding steep terrain, rollovers and convexities is important in minimizing your exposure to storm and wind slabs.  Loose snow avalanches tend to initiate near rocks and vegetation as well as steep terrain.

-Cornices have yet to release in great numbers.  Steer clear of these behemoths, as they have the potential to do a lot of damage.

-Damp snow more than 6" deep is a sign that it's time to exit the area. Following the aspects as the sun heats up the slopes over the course of the day, East to South then West, can make for great riding/skiing days ending in sunny tailgating.

- Keep in mind, cloud cover 'holds in the heat' and can dramatically limit overnight refreezing. A shallow to no refreeze will not only give daytime heating a jump start on weakening the pack, but can produce less than stellar riding conditions.

- Avoid the "shed cycle".  Keep an eye on the ridgetop weather stations for multiple days of above freezing overnight temperatures. This can signal a snowpack with limited refreezing and when followed by warm days (either sunny or rainy) can dramatically increase the likelihood of natural and human triggered avalanches. Careful route planning to stay out from under slopes with wet and rotten snow is essential during this period.

- Beware for warm storms where rain is falling on snow. Especially when rain is falling on cold dry snow. This can quickly increase the avalanche danger.

- One of the easiest ways to stay safe in the springtime is knowing what kind of surface you are traveling on and under. Hard frozen snow, that easily supports a person and/or snowmachine, is less likely to avalanche. Soft and saturated snow, deep enough to leave tracks you would not want to ski through when frozen, is a warning sign that the snow is losing its strength and becoming ripe to avalanche.

- Once the snow has undergone the transition to a summertime snowpack and is freezing at night and warming during the day (the corn season), hitting the slopes early and getting off them when they become too sloppy is critical.

- Last, don't forget to plan your route back to the car. Does it take you under slopes that were frozen and safe earlier in the day, but now have been cooking in the sun waiting to slide on your return?

Mountain Weather

Follow the local weather by clicking HERE for up to date precipitation, wind & temperature data.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a detailed summary of the season's snow, weather and avalanche history.

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Summit Lake Area 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 22, 2014 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of April 23rd.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: Closed
Snug Harbor: OpenPlease stay on existing road (and snow) bed to gain access into Lost Lake.
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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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