Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Cable Valley

Route & General Observations

Splitboard tour from Independence Lot towards Cable Valley. Observed numerous loose dry avalanches in steep terrain on various different aspects. Some of the natural avalanches occurred during the storm this past weekend and a bunch of them occurred during the day today. In our location we found a very weak snowpack with faceted grains under the new snow to the ground. The riding quality was excellent in wind protected areas, whereas a thin breakable wind skin had developed on windward aspects.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Dry Loose SnowAspect South
Elevation 4000ftSlope Angle 40deg
Crown DepthunknownWidth 25ft
Vertical Run 150ft  
Avalanche Details

We saw evidence of numerous mid-storm D1 dry loose avalanches within the new snow on slopes steeper than 40 degrees. Natural dry loose avalanches were actively occurring throughout the day, many of them originating at steep rocks which were warming in the sun. It was unique the amount of snowy pockets that started to avalanche but couldn't gain enough momentum to run very far. While in other locations you could find multiple small avalanches on a single steep slope.

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?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Recent and actively occurring small avalanches in steep terrain. On wind exposed slopes a 3/4 inch wind skin has developed on the surface which allowed for small localized cracking under skis. Boot penetration was 65cm!

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

Mostly clear skies with a calm breeze. 26F degrees and the warm sun was pleasant.

Snow surface

In wind protected areas the snow surface was soft and dry and some surface hoar had developed. On wind exposed locations a 3/4 inch thin wind skin capped the new snow. The wind skin was 4Finger hard and breakable, like small cookies in local areas around skis. A change in snow density likely occurred towards the tail end of the storm as temperatures began to warm slightly.


On a south/southeast aspect we dug in a location with a depth of 129cm. Not much structure to the snowpack with zero layers harder than 4Finger +. It was a simple snowpack with 24cm of new snow resting above 105cm of facets. The grains towards the bottom of the snowpack were striated with chains of depth hoar. The first ECT we conducted broke vertically during our first few hard taps and was inconclusive. On the second attempt we got ECTN20 at 105 with non-propagating failure under the new snow. For giggles we did a PST25/100 End down 25cm and were surprised with the results. It could be a false positive result, but the column did arrest after the failure continued to the end.

Photos & Video
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