Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Cross Hill

Route & General Observations

Split-toured from Independence Lot to Cross Hill to assess the recently wind affected snow and arrival of the incoming storm. I found reactive slabs on leeward west through north aspects in the mid elevations due to actively drifting snow.

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

I observed shooting cracks in recently wind drifted snow on west through north aspects. With simple ski-cuts on leeward test slopes and isolated wind features I was able to get cracking in the surface snow 2-4 inches deep.

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

Cloudy skies and low visibility with snow falling at a rate of S1. Moderate south/southeast winds were blowing snow with infrequent strong gusts. Temperature was around 20F degrees.

Snow surface

Variable snow surfaces with a trace to 1/2 inch of new snow. On sun exposed slopes a breakable crust was found 1-2 inches thick with loose dry snow beneath. On shaded leeward slopes wind affected snow was rapidly building 4Finger to 1Finger slabs 2-3 inches thick, that were reactive to human triggering. Cornices were growing in some leeward ridgeline locations.


A sharp contrast in solar and shaded aspects. Surface instabilities were noted with cracking in the recently wind drifted surface snow. I found evidence of persistent grains still lingering below the 3/31 Easter storm snow on a mid elevation west aspect near Cross Hill 3950 feet. The incoming storm has brought strong south/southeast winds that were gusting to 45mph on Hatch Peak and 50mph on Marmot, which are classified as extreme.

Photos & Video
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