Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Saturday, December 29th 2012 6:10 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

A short break in stormy weather gave us a good look around the mountains yesterday.  Widespread natural avalanche activity confirmed the avalanche warnings we've been issuing most of the week.  Today, another storm is starting to hit us, bringing us into another upswing in the avalanche danger.  HIGH avalanche danger can be found on most aspects and elevations today due to new snow, high wind, and rising temperatures.  Travel is not recommended in avalanche terrain or anywhere in a potential runout zone.

This photo of Eddies from yesterday illustrates the problem we are dealing with.  Similar avalanches may be triggered by skiers or snowmachiners today.  The 3-4 foot depth will be dangerous and unmanageable.

Eddies natural avalanches 12-28-12

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
4 High Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
Avalanche Problem 1

Wind is cranking at ridge tops this morning.  All the new snow from earlier in the week will be loading the lee slopes to failure today.  Natural avalanches are expected in wind loading terrain.  

Early this morning we've seen 4 hours of 1 inch per hour snowfall and wind speeds averaging 31-62mph overnight.  Wind slabs are forming, and they may step down into deeper layers 3-4 feet deep.

Avalanche Problem 2

The deep slab on top of extremely weak faceted snow is a dangerous combination this weekend.  The photo of Eddies above gives a good perspective of the deep slab problem.  A lot of people consider Eddies to be appropriate "storm day" skiing on days with elevated avalanche hazard.  Unfortunately, right now even smaller lower angle slopes are avalanching in a deep and dangerous way.  Very conservative terrain management this week has kept everyone safe so far.  With continued stormy weather, that mandate continues for at least the next few days. 

Mountain Weather

3-4 feet of new snow this week already caused a lot of natural avalanche activity.  Another wave of precipitation is reaching us this morning combined with high wind.  Temperatures are also warming higher than we've seen in a month, bringing the rain/snow line to 800 feet. 

Precipitation today is expected to taper off this morning, but wind reaching 80mph+ will be enough to increase avalanche activity.  Tonight and tomorrow the snowfall is expected to pick up.

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning December 30th.

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).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Jan 13, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: Open
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed. Forest Service is monitoring conditions.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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