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Mon, November 14th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Tue, November 15th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning, this is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Monday, November 14th at 7am. This will serve as a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Our next advisory will be issued Wednesday November 16th at 7am. In the meantime, keep checking our photos/observations page for new submissions.


The glide avalanche problem perseveres. Over the past 7 days, 5 days have had documented glide avalanche occurrences, in many cases more than one per day. To date, two separate touring parties have had ‘too close for comfort’ calls with these creatures. Those accounts are HERE and HERE.

The fact is, these glide avalanches are releasing where we are recreating, and releasing spontaneously. Many folks have been enjoying our great early season snowpack, yet being in the wrong place at the wrong time could have very high consequences. Be aware of what is above and near you and limit exposure to suspect areas such as runout zones and cracks. Though not all glide cracks fully release and avalanche, there is no way of knowing which will and which will not. Furthermore, a glide can release without a visible crack present. Hence, all cracks and suspect areas (i.e., broad slopes, shoulders and rollovers above gullies) should be respected.

As far as the layering in the snowpack, the new snow from over the weekend has bonded well with the old snow surface. Generally speaking, the pack in the Turnagain area has a ‘right side up’ structure. This is good news, however, watch for lingering pockets of wind drifts and wind slabs. These will likely still be possible to trigger off ridgelines, over rollovers and near gullies.

For Tuesday, the avalanche conditions are trending the same.


The winds that blew over our region yesterday were best represented by the Seattle Ridge weather station. Gusts well over 40mph were seen in many locations and the upper elevation exposed slopes are severely wind damaged. Temperatures slowly dropped throughout the day and are currently sitting at 7F on the Sunburst Ridge (3812′) and 15F on Center Ridge (1880′) this morning. Today, one last weather disturbance moves through from the west that will bring a chance for a trace of snow, moderate NW winds and reasonable temperatures. On its heels, a ridge of high pressure will build in Tuesday giving us clear skies and sending even colder air our way. Temperatures will be in the single digits for mid-week.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

For those who need a distraction at the office chutes: Alan Jones, avalanche expert, discusses glide avalanche processes


We are in the season of Fireside Chats, free avalanche awareness talks from your local avalanche center. Show up on Wednesday nights at 7pm at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Girdwood. More details are on our training and calendar page.

Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry give us a call at 754-2369 or send us your observations using the button at the top of this page. Thanks and have a great day.

Mon, November 14th, 2011
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/13/24 Turnagain Observation: Eddie’s, Sunburst, Seattle, Cornbiscuit, Pete’s South
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05/07/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Pass Wet Slabs
04/29/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Turnagain aerial obs
04/27/24 Turnagain Observation: Johnson Pass
04/23/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Sunny Side
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04/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Spokane Creek
04/16/24 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
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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.