Good morning backcountry travelers, this is Carl Skustad with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, May 8th, 2009. This will serve as a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for the Turnagain Arm area (Turnagain Pass is the core advisory area). Local variations always occur. This advisory should be used as a general spring safety message and is less detailed than previous advisories.
*As we wrap up this season we would like to thank the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center. These guys and gals are amazing and are responsible for the improvements made to the Center this season. The countless hours of fund raising, web design, map making, and community outreach they put in make us proud to be part of such an organization. The Glacier Ranger District and the Chugach National Forest thank the board and all who helped support the Center. Join the team, check out the Friends Page on this web site.
* All areas of the Chugach National Forest are closed to snowmachining except for Turnagain Pass and the area above Whittier. Check back for up to date status of these two areas. They will stay open on a dad to day basis as long as there is adiquate snow cover*
MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUND UP FOR THE LAST 24 HOURS
-General Weather Observations-
As spring tries to role up winters white carpet we need to remember a few things about spring travel. Spring storms come and go very quickly. Sunny one minute, rain and snow the next. Be prepared. If the temperatures refreeze the snow pack at night the early hours of the day are best for safe travel. Hard fast icy surfaces! Once the snow begins to soften on the surface it’s time to take advantage of great skiing and riding. After the sun has warmed the surface snow and you sink into your ankles, it’s time to move off and away from steep slopes. Get early starts to your backcountry day and go ride you mountain bike or motorcycle later on sunny days.
Primary avalanche concerns
Spring time warming of our snowpack and the spring avalanche cycle!
-From Sea Level to Rigdetops.
Multiple weak layers in the top 1-3 feet of snow ranging from crusts to buried surface hoar.
-Below 3000 feet.
The “January Hurricane” rain crust buried under 4-6 feet of surface snow. There is a layer of weak sugary faceted snow above and below this hard rain crust.
AVALANCHES AND SNOWPACK
EXTRA CAUTION is advised – this weekend avalanche hazard is still CONSIDERABLE. Use conservative decision making, careful route finding, and good travel habits. Training and experience are essential. Sustained temperatures above freezing and/or direct sun may increase the avalanche hazard to HIGH and possibly EXTREME very quickly.
The avalanche danger rating is only a starting point. YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN RISK by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
We noticed the snowpack going isCNFAIC Staffmal last week. Large avalanches pulled out to the ground in many locations.
This concludes today’s avalanche advisory. Thanks and have a great day.