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Mon, November 6th, 2017 - 7:00AM
Tue, November 7th, 2017 - 7:00AM
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Image of Tincan at 3pm Sunday, Nov 5th after 3″ dusting of snow.  Turnagain Pass is still very thin – snowpack from 0″ to possibly 1′ at the high elevations, even 2′ where the winds have blown in snow.  

Photo from Peter Wadsworth of  Sunburst on Monday Nov 6th.    



In anticipation of the next storm, we are expecting the cold weather to break down the existing snow and turn it to facets (bad news for the base of a snowpack). Hence, we will be mapping out where and how thick the older snow is to assess future avalanche potential. Hint: photos of slopes, valleys, ridges, etc are a great way to help us with this! What about the wind? There is cold air pushing down from the interior which will create strong winds in Southcentral. Turnagain Pass may be spared but other areas may not. Winds can increase avalanche hazard by rapidly loading slopes – and on that note, we’d like to remind folks about  some  early season avalanche tips.

Early season hazards:

Rocks, alders, crevasses and  avalanches.  

Little snow. Keep it simple. What to clue into:

1)  Rapid changes in weather? This includes recent or current snowfall, wind, rain on snow and warm temperatures after a storm. One layer of snow can be a slab!  

2)  Recent avalanches in the past 1 or 2 days?

3) Cracking, collapsing, whumphing?   (see photo below)

4) What are the consequences if the slope does slide? Will you go off a cliff? Into a crevasse? Over the rocks? Are there other terrain traps?

Natural avalanches during late October across from the Crow Pass trail in upper Crow Creek Valley (photo: Mike Records)

**Remember the Crow Pass trail crosses several avalanche paths and even a small early season storm can produce slides that run over the trail.

A little over a 2 foot snowpack at 5,000′ at the head of the Milk Glacier. Location of a very large whumph. The top 10″ layer of harder snow is suspected to have collapsed into the weaker faceted snow below (classic set up for slab avalanches). (Mike Records photo)


Final thought for this update: *THINK COLD POWDER!!!!

Special Announcements

Winter is on the doorstep!!   ARE YOU READY FOR THE 2017/18 SEASON???

Have you dusted off your gear…? What about your avalanche rescue gear? Have you been checking the  observation page? What about our  weather page?? Don’t be fooled by the low snow cover, avalanche season has begun in certain areas – check out this observation from the  Crow Pass trail on Saturday, Nov 4th.  Turnagain Pass is still very thin – conditions at Sunburst HERE. Yes, cold, dry and windy weather is forecast this week, but keep your fingers crossed – snow can be just around the corner.

The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center has just open its doors and is gearing up for the season. All staff are returning – yay! This is, Heather Thamm, Aleph Johnston-Bloom, Graham Predeger and Wendy Wagner. We will be issuing intermittent updates on this page until enough snow falls to warrant daily avalanche forecasts in the Turnagain Pass area. During this time, our observation page will house the most up to date information along with  our Facebook and Instagram pages (Facebook link in the upper right corner and Instagram: @chugachavy). So please,  send us  your photos, videos or notes to help us map the early season condtions!

Mark your calendars:

  • Thursday, Nov 16th:    Friends of the CNFAIC Fall FUNdraiser  – Don’t miss this chance to support your  avalanche center and get inspired for the season listening to  Mark and  Janelle Smiley’s amazing  adventures!!!   8pm at the Beartooth Theater Pub

Stay tuned for more events, including our free awareness courses and Fireside Chats to be listed on our calendar page this week.  

Mon, November 6th, 2017
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. Dangerous avalanche conditions. 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.
Mon, November 6th, 2017

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)        
Summit Lake (1400′)        
Alyeska Mid (1700′)        

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)        
Seattle Ridge (2400′)        
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/16/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst/Magnum
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Seattle Ridge
11/13/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Trees
11/12/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/12/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Goldpan – avalanche
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Taylor Pass – Sunburst
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.