Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: April Bowl

Route & General Observations

Variable snow conditions, slabs and bare sun crust. Recent snow machine tracks high marking just skiers left of the trigger point.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

Crown depth needs to be verified. Sounds like 3-5" thick on shallow side and potentially 3+ feet deep on the thickest side. This was one avalanche , not two. It is possible that this location received more wind (typically does thru the pass), therefore transported more snow, building thicker wind slabs over the past two days, and could have stepped down to the persistent slab. Forecasters will check it out this week.

3/22 This avalanche was not in April Bowl but rather upper $1000 run/lower Hatch Peak on a NW aspect 4000'. The avalanche was approximately 150 ft wide by 200 ft tall with debris 4" to 12" thick, some blocks reaching up to 2' thick and all pencil hard. See recent obs from 3.22 for more info.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect North Northwest
Elevation 4500ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth3ftWidth 250ft
Vertical Run 500ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

Slab was triggered low on the sidewall as we were traversing the questionable section. First skier triggered the slab, broke about 600’ above them. Second skier was in a safe zone and had eyes on the first skier. Then the crown propagated further west on the ridge, to a section estimated to be 3.5’ deep at maximum. First skier was easily able to ski out of the fractured snow(about 30’) second skier was never caught and easily able to ski beyond the runout.

HS AS R2/3 D1/2 I

Events of the day

We were out for an exercise day, hoping for some low-angle soft turns on the return trip. We were aware of the avalanche conditions, hasty pits showed that the top layer of wind slab were variably reactive. Decision made to avoid steep, wind drifted slopes.

Beacon check was done in the parking lot, both team members had all necessary avalanche equipment. Skiers crossed slopes one at a time with visual contact the entire time.

Rescue events

No rescue was needed. Debrief included mechanics of the avalanche (why it released where it did), as well as decision making and communication.

Photos & Video
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