Moderate avalanche danger exists at higher elevations

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Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 2:10 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Moderate avalanche danger has been forecasted at elevations above 2,500 feet in Southcentral Alaska.

Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center forecaster John Sykes wrote that the avalanche danger as moderate at high elevations above the treeline, or at 2,500 feet of elevation and above.

“A layer of sugary facets on the ground at upper elevations could produce avalanches 2-4′ deep, but the chances are decreasing since we have had no significant snowfall this week,” Sykes wrote. “Lingering wind slabs up to 1′ deep and dry loose avalanches (aka sluffs) are also possible in steeper terrain.”

According to the center’s website, the last known avalanche activity on the existing layer of facets was Nov. 13.

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center Avalanche Specialist Allie Barker wrote that avalanche danger is moderate at both mid-and-upper elevations in Hatcher Pass, or at elevations above 2,500 feet.

“It will be possible to human trigger a persistent slab 1 to 3 ft thick on all aspects at mid and upper elevation today. It will be possible to human trigger small dry loose sluffs in steep terrain 40° and steeper on all aspects, at all elevations. Natural avalanches are unlikely. Coverage is still thin and getting caught in any size avalanche could have severe consequences. We recommend sticking to the rock skis/board for a little while longer,” Barker wrote. “No slab avalanches have been observed or reported since 11/16. Numerous natural and human triggered small dry loose sluffs were observed on Friday 12/2.”

Avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass is listed as low at elevations below 2,500 feet. Barker wrote that no slab avalanches have been observed since Nov. 16. However, several smaller natural and human-triggered avalanches have been observed.