Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, February 22nd 2013 5:41 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Previous ForecastNext Forecast
The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above treeline where loose snow avalanches are the main concern in steep terrain.  Below treeline the hazard is LOW, where avalanches are unlikely today.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Special Announcement

The Chugach National Forest is looking for your comments in the Forest Plan Revision Process.  Public meetings are being held this week and next in Seward, Soldotna, Anchorage, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass Cordova and Valdez.  Forest Managers and decision makers are anxious to hear input from the people who live, recreate and make a livlihood on the Chugach National Forest.  For more information and meeting dates click here.

Avalanche Problem 1

The storm that ended Wednesday left 6-8 inches of light density snow sitting on the surface.  This snow will sluff easily today, primarily on North and West aspects and especially in steeper terrain.  South and some East facing terrain received enough sun yesterday to melt the surface snow which has re frozen overnight where loose snow avalanches are less of a problem.  Natural point releases were observed on multiple aspects above treeline yesterday.  Expect more of the same today with sluffs being small to medium in volume.  Pay particular attention to these above terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies and trees.

Wind slabs
There is the possibility of finding isolated older pockets of shallow wind slab in the higher elevation starting zones.  Triggering one of these smaller slabs combined with sluffing will increase the volume of snow moving dowhill, making it harder to manage terrain appropriately.

Avalanche Problem 2

A distinct buried crust resides in many locations between ~1,500-3,000' in elevation.  On top of this crust is weak snow in some areas.  On top of that weak snow is a slab up to 3 feet thick.  Yesterday my partners and I tested the snow at this interface and found it to be non reactive.  Other areas in the last week have shown this layer to be reactive and because of this it is still worth paying attention to.  Staying off of steep rollovers and thin spots, especially slopes getting direct sun will help in avoiding this problem today.

We also looked at some thin spots in the snowpack to assess the deep slab problem.  Weak snow still exists at the ground above 2,000'.  Our tests yesterday showed this weak snow to be non reactive, for now.

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up a trace of new snow.  Winds have been very light out of the North and Northwest and temperatures have been in the teens at ridgetops.  The sun made an appearance for several hours during the day yesterday and has created crusts on South aspects.

Today expect to see lingering snow showers giving way to clearing skies in the afternoon ahead of the next approaching disturbance.  Winds will blow 10-20 mph out of the Northwest and temperatures at 1,000' will be in the mid twenties.

Light snowfall should resume late tonight as a series of weak disturbances continue to move through the area over the next several days.


Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, February 23rd.

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: Mar 22, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3/22. Unfortunately HEAVY rain over the past week has washed much of the snow off the lower stretches of this trail.
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: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Summit Lake: Open

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

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
© 2019 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.