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Sun, April 1st, 2012 - 7:00AM
Mon, April 2nd, 2012 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, April 1st 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).


Skookum drainage will be closed to motorized use beginning today and extend through April 30th. All CNFAIC Staff motorized use areas on the Glacier Ranger District, such as Placer Valley and 20-Mile, remain open.


We continue to have a MODERATE avalanche danger on ALL NORTHERLY slopes harboring dry snow. Soft slab avalanches, 6-12+” deep, continue to be triggered by people in the Turnagain Pass region and are again possible today. Additionally, the danger will rise to MODERATE for wet avalanches in the afternoon in conjunction with daytime heating on southerly slopes and all aspects at low elevations.


The situation today is similar to that yesterday: if a person is seeking out the dry powder, they will likely find themselves in the best spot to trigger an avalanche – and that’s no April fool’s joke. We continue to see human triggered slab avalanches on a layer of buried surface hoar that sits just under a foot deep. Though it has been 5 days now since our last shot of snow, these slabs are still quite touchy in certain areas on northerly aspects. Wet avalanches on southerly slopes remained quiet yesterday around Turnagain Pass, however south of the Pass and near Seward, wet activity continued. Also, one glide avalanche released in the past 24 hours in the Skookum drainage.

Concern #1 – Persistent Slab Avalanches

Triggering a wind slab or soft slab that is sitting on buried surface hoar remains possible on northerly aspects where cold dry snow exists (predominantly at and above treeline). These 6-12″ deep and 30-100′ wide avalanches are running quite fast and can be large/deep enough to injure/bury a person. Careful route selection and snowpack evaluation are necessary for avoiding this avalanche problem. Staying away from slopes that funnel into terrain traps such as gullies/cliffs is advised.

Concern #2 – Wet Avalanches

It is that time of year where getting off slopes exposed to the sun, as well as all aspects at the lower elevations, by the afternoon is prudent. Calm winds today will help the daytime heating to loosen surface crusts and wet loose slides will be possible to trigger in the steeper terrain.

Concern #3 – Cornices and Glide Avalanches

Giving cornices a wide berth and avoiding time under glide cracks remain prudent with our spring-time warm up.


Mostly cloudy skies gave way to party sunny skies yesterday and allowed temperatures to climb to near 30F on the peaks and up to 50F at sea level. Winds picked up slightly from the east and blew in the 10-20mph range. Overnight, clouds have built back in and temperatures have dropped to near 20F on the peaks and 32F at sea level. Winds have died down and shifted to the NW, blowing around 5-10mph.

Today, anCNFAIC Staff mild day, with a chance for a rain drop or flurry as clouds filter in and out, is on tap. No accumulation is expected. Temperatures should climb back to around 30F on the ridgelines and to the upper 40’s at sea level. Winds are forecast to remain light from the NW.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Chris will issue the next advisory tomorrow 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.

Sun, April 1st, 2012
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
2 - Moderate
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.
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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.