January 5, 2017

Avalanche Danger Update

Dangerous avalanche conditions exist in Chugach State Park.  Natural and human triggered avalanches are possible.

Conservative decision-making, cautious route-finding, and careful snowpack evaluation are necessary for recreating safely in and around avalanche terrain.

Strong winds have increased avalanche danger in Chugach State Park, and avalanche danger is expected to remain elevated through the weekend in the upper elevations.

Do not be lured by calm, sunny weather into a false sense of security regarding avalanche danger.  Remember that avalanche danger exists in popular, and seemingly benign, areas of Chugach State Park.  It’s possible to be exposed to avalanche danger from above on flat, even dry (snow-free), ground.

Wind loaded, leeward terrain will be the most prone to avalanche.  Identify such areas as snow covered terrain steeper than 30 degrees, and flatter terrain in the immediate vicinity exposed to avalanche runout.  Wind loaded areas with deeper snow found along ridges, cross loaded gully sidewalls, and near peaks are expected to be the most susceptible to avalanche.

Recent avalanches, shooting cracks radiating out from your feet, collapsing snow (with a “whumphing” sound), and wind blowing snow will be red flags of immediate avalanche danger.

*Avalanche terminology is hyperlinked.  Follow the link to learn more about a term.

In a state with vast avalanche terrain and avalanche paths that threaten popular trails, neighborhoods, and even highways; everyone should have at least basic avalanche awareness.  Becoming avalanche savvy will help you stay safe, and better enjoy the snow season!

Take advantage of one of many local learning opportunities.  Click here for more info.