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Thu, March 9th, 2017 - 7:00AM
Fri, March 10th, 2017 - 7:00AM
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is  LOW  at all elevations.   Avalanches are unlikely today.   Exceptions to this are possible, mainly in the form of old wind slabs, loose snow avalanches and cornice falls.   Big alpine terrain and steep slopes in the lower elevations will be the most likely places to encounter these issues.  Remember to give glide cracks a wide berth and limit exposure under them.  

Good travel habits remain important.   These include exposing only one person at a time on a slope, watching your partners closely and having an escape route planned in case the snow moves.  

Summit Lake area:  A thinner snowpack exists with a poor structure and heightened avalanche danger remains in this zone.  Please see  the Saturday Summit Summary  HERE

Special Announcements

There will be an Alaska State Trooper Helicopter in the Turnagain Pass area this afternoon conducting avalanche rescue training operations.

Consider showing your support for public avalanche centers when applying for your PFD!!  Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center is an  official  Pick. Click. Give. organization!


Thu, March 9th, 2017
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
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

Not surprising but there is nothing new or exotic to report today. Sunshine, cold temperatures and light winds again greeted folks in the mountains yesterday and are forecasted again today with the exception of slightly warmer temperatures. Despite the weather and snowpack conditions being mostly stable, it is important to remember if you choose to venture into steep terrain, LOW danger doesn’t mean NO danger. Snow is complex and it often seems that once we let our guard down, something happens. So, keep up your safe travel habits and always watch for changes in the snowpack as well as weather. Below are the ‘Normal Caution’ concerns that underscore the current green conditions: 

Glide Avalanches:
Glide cracks continue to slowly open above popular terrain on Seattle Ridge and in other areas of the advisory area. These could release at any time, watch for these cracks and avoid being under them, photo below.

Wind Slabs:
Old and hard winds slabs are easy to find but for the most part they are locked into place. Steep rocky areas, where they are not supported from below, will be the most suspect zones for someone to pop one out. These areas are also where slabs are likely sitting on weak faceted snow. Even a small wind slab can have big consequences if a person is knocked over cliffs or down steep terrain. Watch for hard snow over weak loose snow as well as shooting cracks and whumphing noises. 

Loose Snow Avalanches (Sluffs):
Watch your sluff. Dry sluffs on steep slopes are probable and are getting larger by the day. Although many steep South slopes have a sun crust, a slight change in aspect still sports soft snow and sluff concerns. As temperatures rise over the next few days wet loose activity on the southerly slopes, both natural and human triggered, may be possible.

Cornices should always be given a wide berth from above and limit exposure time traveling underneath.

Persistent Slabs and Deep Slabs: 
There are various weak layers in our thin snowpack. Buried surface hoar sits 1-3+’ below the surface and faceted snow sits in the mid and base of the pack. These weak layers with varying degrees of strength are in a dormant stage due to plenty of time to adjust with a lack of changing weather. Although this means the layers are not producing avalanches, it doesn’t mean an outlier can’t occur which could cause a large avalanche breaking deeper in the pack. 

Glide cracks along Seattle Ridge

Glide crack south of Repeat Offender

Thu, March 9th, 2017

Yesterday brought another day of sunshine, calm winds and cold temperatures. There was a slight warming trend that will progress today with temperatures forecasted to climb into the low 20Fs. Winds will be light and northerly. Temperatures will dip down again tonight but not as low as the past week.  

There is a chance a few clouds will sneak in overnight into tomorrow. In general the pattern we are in persists into early next week. Then… Fingers crossed… There is a chance for snow. Stay tuned.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 8    0 0   61  
Summit Lake (1400′) 6  0   0   29  
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  12  0 0    57

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 7    WNW 5   17  
Seattle Ridge (2400′)  11  W 6  12
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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.