Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: 4068 South Aspect

Route & General Observations

Started from Fishhook parking lot @10:30am. Headed for the 4068 south ridge with the objective of investigating the southern aspects, checking on how the crusts were looking, and seeing if the new snow was affecting anything.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

wind loading and new snow loading red flags were present throughout the day. Mostly on easterly aspects on slopes near 30° and higher, shooting cracks were common. They would range from a foot or so from ski tip to over 20' out from ski tip. On a slope in the low 30°s, 20'+ long shooting cracks occurred also ~ 3-4' below tracks. Cracks were within new snow depth.
Pics below

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

At Fishhook Parking Lot @10:18am
Wind: South, Calm gusting light
Sky: Obscured (X)
Temps: 23°F
Precip: Light to 1cm/hour (S1 GP) // snowfall was consistently graupel (~2mm)
At pit location @1:00pm
Elevation: 2,930'
Wind: Moderate, gusting strong (rapid snow transporting)
Sky: Obscured (-X)
Temp: 20°F
Precip: Moderate+ (S2 GP) // consistent graupel still, sometimes falling in the 4mm+ range of size, avg 2mm large
By the time we got back to the car at 3:15pm there was ~14cm of new snow since we were gone! All graupel!

Snow surface

Snow surface consisted of 10-14cm of almost exclusively graupel, super cool to see and really fun skiing! Great change from how things have been. Below the new snow was the old melt-freeze crust, predominantly present on east through southernly aspects, old windslab action felt in the flats by the creek.
Even with some pretty strong wind transport the new snow was very resistant to forming any sort of slab; new snow almost never acted very slab-like


Dug pits on a south aspect at 2930'
Pit profile and test results below,
CT1 BRK Q3 @ 14cm
CT3 BRK Q3 @ 14cm
ECTN5 BRK x2 Q3 @ 14cm
RB7 // No fracture
Hand shear test on E aspect: Hard pressure, failure on facets(rounding?) below old surface melt-freeze crust ~9" down from surface

Photos & Video
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