Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Monday, March 18th 2013 6:19 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is LOW today.  Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely at all elevations.  Cornice fall, small loose snow avalanches and isolated pockets of shallow wind slab are potential issues you might encounter.  Sun and warming could weaken the snow surface enough to create small wet loose avalanches in steep sunlit terrain.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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.
Avalanche Problem 1

LOW hazard does not mean 'no' hazard.  With continued clear and pleasant weather lately many people have been getting into steep terrain in more remote areas.  Whenever traveling in a new area it is best to pay attention to the snow, despite the current overall good stability.  Start by looking for obvious signs of instability (recent avalanches, shooting cracks, or whoompfing), and then test & get a feel for the snow.  Anomalies exist and it is good practice to be ready for them through snowpack observations and safe travel practices.  Here are some of those anomalies you might encounter today.

Loose Snow
Yesterday my partner and I were able to produce low to medium volume sluffs in steep terrain.  On terrain less than 40 degrees in steepness the loose surface snow did not want to move.  Make sure you recognize when sluffing is occurring and manage your terrain accordingly (get out of the way of moving snow).  With slightly warmer temperatures expected today some low volume sluffs could become damp, especially at the lower elevations.

We have seen several large cornice drops during the month of March, though nothing has been reported or observed in the last week.  Many South and Southwest slopes have large cornices looming above them.  Avoidance and minimizing your exposure to these areas is the best way to stay out of trouble.

(Old) Wind slabs
There is a remote chance of finding an old pocket of wind slab sitting on buried facets or surface hoar.  Yesterday we encountered areas where wind slab existed; tests and ski cuts produced no significant results.
Despite the overall stability picture, you will be best served by continuing to pay attention to the snow through observation and testing.

Mountain Weather

Clear, cold and calm has been the weather pattern over the last several days.  The last precipitation came 4 days ago.  Temperatures were cool yesterday, with the Sunburst station (3,880') averaging 10.8 degrees F.  Winds were light, averaging 5 mph out of the NW.

Today should be another pleasant day in the mountains!  Expect clear skies and slightly warmer temperatures than yesterday.  Temps at 1,000' should reach into the mid to upper twenties F.  Winds will remain light out of the North at 5mph.

This stable weather pattern looks to remain in place for at least the next several days and possibly through the week.

Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, March 19th.

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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