Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Fri, April 17th, 2020 - 7:00AM
Sat, April 18th, 2020 - 7:00AM
Conditions Summary

Friday, Apr 17th UPDATE:

DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS exist in the backcountry today and through the weekend. Travel in avalanche terrain is NOT recommended, avalanches can run into valley bottoms and much further than expected.

Hiking trails, such as Crow Pass and Byron Glacier, are threatened from avalanches occurring above. HEADS UP!

Yesterday several large and very large avalanches occurred from Girdwood south to Seward. These are large wet avalanches that are releasing due the snowpack warming dramatically. The pack is literally ‘falling apart’ at the seams and sliding off the mountainsides. This is not a time to be on hiking trails or in the backcountry unless you know for certain you are well away and far out from under avalanche paths. Photos and videos below are from Girdwood Valley on the Goat Mtn. shoulder.

Photo’s above and video by George Creighton, link HERE. Thanks George!


Video credit Adam Loomis, link HERE. Thanks Adam!


Original report from Tuesday, April 14th:

Operations UPDATE:  The CNFAIC Staff would like to thank everyone for their support during the past two weeks of suspended forecasts. We will be issuing our Springtime Tips this weekend. This weekend also marks the end of our regularly scheduled forecast season. We will continue to post observations and highlight any significant rise in avalanche danger through April 24th. At this point, our offices close and our Annual Report will be published.

Weather and Avalanche Outlook for Turnagain Pass and surrounding regions for Tuesday, April 14th and extending through the week:

And, spring looks like it’s finally arriving… After a two week cool spell, marked with mostly sunny skies, cold nights, a few inches of snow, and a handful of windy days, the pattern has changed… Sunday, April 12th, warmer air and moisture started to stream in from the south. Girdwood woke up to ~10″ of new snow at 2,000′ on Monday, April 13th, while Turnagain Pass saw 5-6″. Beginning Tuesday, April 14th, even warmer air is headed in. We are talking 32°F at 4,000′ warm during the pre-dawn hours… The good news however, there is not a lot of moisture expected to make it this far north, hence, weather models are only showing light rainfall for Wednesday and Thursday (Apr 15-16) at this time. Otherwise, it’s looking like generally warm springtime temperatures, cloudy skies and some chances for sprinkles. Keep up to date on our weather page!

Increasing Avalanche Danger:  Avalanche danger can be split into four different categories this week: wet snow, dry snow, glide avalanches and cornices. Roofs with remaining snow/ice are also likely to shed – heads up!

  • Wet snow avalanches will be a concern on slopes that have a wet and saturated surface. Whether this is from simply warm temperatures and sun (Tuesday’s forecast) or rain on snow (Wednesday – Thursday), human triggered and natural wet loose or wet slab avalanches are possible. Avoid steep slopes with 6″ or more of soft wet and saturated snow. Additionally:
    • Any slope with Monday’s new snow that sees its first warming will be ripe to avalanche 
    • No overnight re-freeze will increase wet snow avalanches – beginning Tuesday night.
    • A wet loose avalanche can trigger a larger slab, creating a much bigger slide
  • Dry snow avalanches will be at the higher elevations where snow has fallen and the wind has blown. Wind slabs are likely to be found on wind loaded slopes and dry sluffs in protected terrain.
  • Glide avalanches – yes the glide cracks are moving. Avoid being under them. They are likely to start releasing with the rising temperatures!
  • Cornice falls are also likely to become unstable and may begin to fall on their own this week.

Shed Cycle?  The Shed cycle is when the snowpack as a whole loses all cohesion due to melting and it literally falls off the mountainside in large wet avalanches. These types of avalanches are not expected yet, but something we (and you too) should all be watching for. Several nights in a row of above freezing temperatures at the ridgetops along with cloud cover and rain are indicators the cycle may begin.



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Fri, April 17th, 2020
Fri, April 17th, 2020

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)
Summit Lake (1400′)
Alyeska Mid (1700′)

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)
Seattle Ridge (2400′)
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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, May 15th, 2023

Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed May 15.
Placer River
Closed May 15.
Skookum Drainage
Will close to motorized use on April 1, 2023 per the National Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Chugach NF staff will be assessing daily after May 15th. Please keep machines on the snow and avoid brown spots to keep this area open as long as possible.
Scheduled closure May 1.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Scheduled closure May 1.
Lost Lake Trail
Scheduled closure May 1.
Primrose Trail
Scheduled closure May 1.
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed to motorized use for the 2022/23 winter season per Forest Plan. Open next season.
Snug Harbor
Extended opening until May 15.
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Scheduled closure May 1.
Summit Lake
Scheduled closure May 1.

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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.