Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: $1000 Run, IM North, Microdot/Rae Wallace Bench

Route & General Observations

Our Level 1 avalanche course scattered around the pass today for snowpack skills. We toured up below Independence Mine, between Rae Wallace and Microdot and up toward $1000 run. With above freezing temperatures all day between 3,000 and 3,500′, we experienced the warming Greenhouse effect of some mild solar input through broken skies; snow surfaces were warm but we saw no red flag signs of instability (no pinwheels, rollerballs or snowballs we could squeeze water out of).

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No red flags or signs of instability observed.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Skies were mostly broken today with sun intermittently working through to create shadows, invite sunscreen application and moisten the snow surface.
Between noon and 1300, temperatures at 3,000' were +5-6° C (41-43° F).
Winds were calm to light and variable.

Snow surface

We observed 1-2" of new storm snow which included some rimed stellars and graupel. Snow surfaces were soft in areas without tracks (6-8" ski penetration). Things were noticeably more moist as we shifted from polar to solar aspects.


As a level one does, we dug multiple snowpits in the three different tour locations. Overall structure in snowpits was consistently right side up. In areas where lingering advanced basal facets remain, they were moist, 1F and clearly rounding. The upper and midpack is rounded and cohesive (1F to Pencil hard) and results were overwhelmingly ECTX and CTN. We did go hunting for localized instability for teaching purposes which was in a drainage at 3,300' WSW on a 1F layer 45 cm down on 1mm facets with CT9-13(Q1) and ECTP15-19. Just a reminder that low danger doesn't mean no danger and it is possible to hunt out isolated, localized instabilities.

Photos & Video
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