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Fri, March 13th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Sat, March 14th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Heather Thamm
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger today is LOW both in the Alpine and at Treeline. Isolated pockets of surface snow instabilities are possible in very steep and exposed terrain where consequences of a fall could be high in the wrong place. It is in this terrain where scouting your line and paying attention to surface snow variations will be important.  

Frostbite is possible today with the combination of cold temps and moderate winds. Minimize your exposure with extra layers and stop often to rewarm hands, feet, and face.

Special Announcements

Avalanche Rescue Workshop at Hatcher Pass!! Join CNFAIC forecasters, HPAC forecasters and Alaska Avalanche School this Sunday from 11am-12:30pm for a FREE  informal rescue workshop  before hitting the hills at Hatcher Pass!!  Click HERE for more info.  

Fri, March 13th, 2015
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

Surface Instabilities:

It has been 5 days since our last loading event of 6-10” and 30+ mph winds. Surface snow instability has been our primary concern over the last week and we caution those getting into very steep terrain to be aware of the consequences should one find a small wind slab or trigger a sluff today.

Wind Slab

Old wind slabs 2-10” thick, both soft and hard, could be lingering on steep and complex terrain. This type of hazard is unlikely to bury a person, but could take you for a ride over a steep cliff or rocky chute. It is in these locations where being aware of the consequences of a fall should be at the forefront of your mind. It is also important to mention that surface conditions are variable and it can be difficult to see the consistency of the snow changing from soft to breakable

Loose Snow

Isolated pockets of loose dry snow can be found in steep gullies and chutes. With such cold temperatures this snow could be fast moving and knock you off your feet if it gains momentum. With good sluff management skills this is a minor concern.

LOW avalanche danger does not mean NO danger. It is important to still practice safe travel protocols. Identify safe spots, move between islands of safety one at a time, and always have an escape zone in mind.

Other hazards:

Frostbite is a legitimate concern today. As of this morning Sunburst Wx station has reached an all time season low of -8 F. Daytime highs will be near 0 F and winds are expected to be 10-20 mph from the Northwest; just cold enough to drop the wind chill to -20 F. Bring extra warm layers in order to minimize exposure to your extremities and your face. Stop to rewarm hands and feet as needed. 


Surface conditions vary from breakable wind stiffened snow to protected pockets of powder.    

Fri, March 13th, 2015

Yesterday skies were clear and daytime temperatures remained in the single digits F, even in the sun. Overnight lows reached -6 to -8 F along ridgetops. Winds were light 5-15 mph from the West. No new precipitation fell in the last 24 hours.

Today expect more of the same; clear skies and cold temps. Daytime temperatures will be near 0 F and ridgetop winds will be 10-20 mph from the Northwest. Near Whittier and Seward winds are expected to increase to 30-40 mph.

Cold and dry weather will last through Saturday. A large Sourtherly flow is expected to arrive in Southcentral Alaska by Sunday bringing warmer temperatures and fingers crossed, a shot of SNOW!  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)  4 0   0   43  
Summit Lake (1400′) 3   0   0   9  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 3   0   0   27  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) -6   W    6 18  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) -4   WSW   7   20  
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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.