Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sat, February 4th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Sun, February 5th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, February 4th at 7am. This will serve as 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).


Seward Highway DOT has been working diligently to keep the road open during this storm. Parking at Turnagain Pass may be difficult to accommodate everyone today. Be patient with the plowing efforts and do not block the road crews.


Avalanche danger remains at CONSIDERABLE for much of the region. 4-5 FEET of new snow has fallen in the last 3 days. Human triggered avalanches are likely on steep and/or wind loaded slopes. Natural avalanches are possible. This snow needs more time to settle and stabilize.


WOW! What a storm!!! Yesterday goes in the record books for one of the deepest and lightest days we can remember. The storm yesterday brought a surprise cold shot of snow that was building up to 5 inches an hour at its peak intensity. When it’s snowing that hard, the corresponding avalanche danger is spiking as well. There is a lot to be worried about today…

To recap the last several days –

Warming and high volume snow on Wed/Thursday brought 22 inches to Turnagain Pass with rain at low elevations

Thursday morning a Natural avalanche closed the Seward Highway at mile 37.

Many medium to large natural and explosive triggered avalanches were brought down by avalanche workers on Thursday.

Friday morning had over 2 feet of very rapid loading in some areas. Friday night the wind picked up to 50mph at some weather stations.

Nobody has any business pushing their luck today. I know we say it a lot, but conservative decision making could be the difference that keeps you alive today. The snow is so deep that Non Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death is a real possibility. We even saw a snowmachine stuck in the deep snow in the parking lot yesterday.

Avalanche concerns are all about lots of snow and not enough time for that snow to settle and stabilize. The one big anomaly is a report from the Placer River valley of a very large propagation low elevation avalanche. This could be an awakening of older buried surface hoar from a couple weeks ago. Today is a day to play on lower angle slopes or in the flats. If buried surface hoar is a problem, you could trigger the slope above from a long distance away.


It looks like a reprieve from the snowfall today, with mostly cloudy skies and a drop in temperatures. Wind last night picked up to 51mph on Max’s and 40mph on Sunburst from the East. Wind is probably the biggest concern for avalanche weather today. Ridgetops could see gusts to the high 30s today, which is plenty to blow the dry surface snow into cohesive slabs.

More snow is in the forecast for Sunday and into next week.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

Sat, February 4th, 2012
Above 2,500'
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
3 - Considerable
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
12/04/23 Turnagain Observation: Lynx Creek
12/04/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst, 2400′ – 3100′ NW ridge common uptrack.
12/03/23 Turnagain Observation: Center Ridge
12/03/23 Turnagain Observation: Magnum
12/03/23 Turnagain Observation: West ridge of Tincan Peak and Peak 4400
12/03/23 Turnagain Observation: Lipps
12/02/23 Turnagain Observation: Seattle Ridge
12/02/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan South Side
12/02/23 Turnagain Observation: Eddies up track
12/01/23 Avalanche: Sunburst
Riding Areas

The riding areas page has moved. Please click here & update your bookmarks.

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.