Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Fri, November 16th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Sat, November 17th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

   2018/2019 winter avalanche season has begun!

The CNFAIC will be issuing  intermittent snow and avalanche updates  as conditions warrant through mid-November.  Daily avalanche forecasts are planned to begin on Thanksgiving weekend  – unless we see more snow and avalanche issues before this demanding an earlier start.  

 *Early season folks:  Please send us your snow/avalanche reports so we can post them on our observation page. Thank you to all those who have  submitted  already! Simply click ‘submit observation’ under the Observation tab above. This is a huge benefit for the community and our forecasters.  Make sure to  like us on Facebook  and  follow us on Instagram  for our most up to date information.

Friday Nov. 16 update:

This week we had a few clear days to look around Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake after a big rain event ended Monday (Nov 12.) Sadly a lot of snow washed away leaving our mountains naked from the waist down.  Another round of warm and wet weather is expected this weekend with Sunday thru Monday being the wettest.  Rain/snow line may reach above 3000′ on Sunday with 1-2″ of rain in the forecast. East ridgetops winds have been moderate (20-30mph) and will continue thru Sunday as the next storm system moves through our region. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that temperatures cool near the end of the storm and snow line moves into lower elevations. Check back here on Tuesday morning to see what happens. #hopeforsnow  

In the Alpine, above 2500′, a layered snowpack is gradually increasing in depth. If you’re thinking of make the hike be aware of changing weather and be on the lookout for these red flag warnings:  

  1. Recent avalanches
  2. Cracks in the snow that shoot out from you
  3. Whumpfing (collapsing) of the snowpack
  4. Rapid changes in weather (snow/rain/wind/temperature)


Southwest aspect of Tincan Common Bowl on Nov.14, photo by Aleph Johnston-Bloom



 East facing slopes of Seattle Ridge, Nov.14, photo by Aleph Johnston-Bloom


 North and West aspects of Magnum. Click HERE for an observation and more photos by Aleph Johnston-Bloom from Nov.14, 2018


Southwest face of Tenderfoot on Nov.13 in the Summit Lake area. Check out more photos of and an avalanche observation by Alex McLain HERE


Special Announcements


Wednesday, Nov 21st:  Snowmachine throwback film fundraiser –  “2 Stroke Cold Smoke”!

7 – 10pm, 49th State Brewing Co Anchorage. Kick off the riding season, connect with CNFAIC and learn about snowmachine specific avalanche awareness/course opportunities with a ‘throwback film’ night!!    

$20 tickets are available  HERE  and at  Alaska Mining and Diving Supplies,  A2D Motorsports and  Anchorage Yamaha Polaris  

Fri, November 16th, 2018
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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Announcement

We are focusing each update on one of the Know Before You Go’s ‘GETS’.  Today’s GET is GET THE FORECAST!  (Know Before You Go video link in case you haven’t seen it.)

The danger scale is a starting point in your daily planning process. This is where you go to learn about current avalanche conditions and if the weather is adding to instability. In Alaska there are many areas that do not have an avalanche forecast and some popular areas that do. Turnagain Pass, Hatcher Pass and Thompson Pass all have avalanche forecasts. Before heading out, know if there is a forecast for the place you are going and check it! A map for the CNFAIC Turnagain Pass forecast area is on the home page of this website. Other avalanche forecasts can be found at these links:  Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center and the Valdez Avalanche Center. Keep in mind, avalanche danger can vary widely from one place to the next, it is not safe to extrapolate danger ratings to areas outside the forecast zones.

Check out this informative tutorial about the North American Danger Scale. Pay close attention to the discussion on travel advice and the importance of understanding avalanche terrain. 


Why do most avalanche fatalities occur when the danger is CONSIDERABLE?  This is often the first 24-48 hours after a storm event when the weather is calm, but the snowpack has not yet adjusted to the new snow load. As the season unfolds, don’t forget this very important rule of thumb. 

Fri, November 16th, 2018

For weather information during these updates, see:

CNFAIC Weather Page

NWS Mountain Recreation Forecast  

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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04/16/24 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.