Weekend avalanche danger high for Hatcher Pass, considerable for Turnagain Pass

Avalanches across Southcentral have heightened awareness heading into the weekend as backcountry destinations report considerable to high avalanche danger.
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 7:16 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Avalanches across Southcentral Alaska have heightened awareness heading into the weekend as popular backcountry destinations report considerable to high avalanche danger.

The impact of avalanches could be felt even by those who weren’t in the backcountry on Friday as a slide shut down the Seward Highway for hours near mile 91. It was a similar story around mile 8 on the Old Glenn Highway where an avalanche closed off the area Friday. That highway was set to remain closed overnight.

The Hatcher Pass recreation area will remain closed at mile 11 of Palmer Fishhook road because of avalanche danger. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said artillery crews are planning to trigger slides in that area once work on the Seward and Old Glenn highways is complete.

“... Avalanche conditions are still going to be primed for human-triggered avalanches,” Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center forecaster John Sykes said. “So people who don’t have a lot of avalanche training, we’d really recommend avoiding avalanche terrain if you can.”

The avalanche forecast for Hatcher Pass is high, while Turnagain Pass is considerable. Forecasters are urging anyone who heads to the backcountry this weekend to use caution. Sykes said human-triggered avalanches are the most common one to two days after a storm.

“The next couple of days, like through this weekend, the weather’s going to be pretty good but the conditions are still really sensitive,” Sykes said.

Stay up to date with Hatcher Pass and Turnagain area avalanche forecasts on the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center website as well as the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center website.

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