May 2, 2015

Avalanche advisories and observations are wrapping up for the 2014-15 season, but there are still some serious avalanche problems to be aware of as we transition to summer:

The wet avalanche danger is a serious threat this time of year, especially later in the day with diurnal warming and increasing solar radiation. The nightly re-freeze, which helps to re-stabilize the snowpack until midday, is also questionable with temperatures of late being so warm.

Even if you’re not on snow, be aware of what’s above and around you! By noon, be mindful of softening snow and avoid the vicinity and potential runout of steep slopes, snow filled gullies, etc.

Popular spring hiking areas along Turnagain Arm (like Falls Creek), in the Front Range (like Glen Alps – south facing gullies from False Peak to O’Malley), in the Upper South Fork Eagle River area (especially in the vicinity of Eagle and Symphony Lakes), and Eklutna Lake area (e.g. alpine area of Twin Peaks trail) have areas with dangerous avalanche paths this time of year.

If you’re hiking someplace like Bird Ridge, make sure you stay on the dry and snow free trail, ridge proper, and AVOID EXPOSING YOURSELF TO THE STEEP AND SNOWY SLOPES TO THE WEST OF THE RIDGE!

For those of you still looking for skiing/riding opportunities, they still exist.  The CNFAIC has provided a good summary of springtime avalanche problems and tips (click here).

A BIG THANKS goes out to all who supported and helped develop the grassroots Anchorage Avalanche Center effort to provide organized snow, weather, and avalanche info for Chugach State Park!

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