Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Eldorado Bowl tour and Rae Wallace avalanche

Route & General Observations

Post storm and wind event tour to assess avalanche conditions and recent avalanches while attempting to find snow undisturbed by the wind. We were unsuccessful.


Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect Northwest
Elevation 4000ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

Observed a recent D1.5-2 slab avalanche in Rae Wallace chutes, likely from last night. We saw the avalanche from quite a distance but I'm guessing the crown was 2-3 ft deep. The avalanche was mid slope and appeared to propagate close to or around the ridge. The avalanche was most likely a wind slab that stepped down into the persistent slab or a persistent slab. Either would be plausible in this senario.

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)?No
Observer Comments

Few recent avalanches observed today in Rae Wallace, Found couloir, and Point of Interest (above Gold Mint parking lot ) . There is a strong likelihood that more avalanches occurred after the 11/26-27 storm that are now covered up from new snow re-distributed from wind over the last 24 hours.

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

New snow:
11/26-27 10" new snow, 1.2" SWE @IM 3550', 9" new with 1.6" SWE @ Frostbite 2700'
11/28-29 13 hrs of strong to extreme gusts SSE30-47mph at 4500'

IM/3550' 28deg F at 12pm
Marmot/4500' 21 degF at 12pm

Snow surface

The snow surface consists mostly of wind affected snow, sastrugi, wind packed powder of variable thickness from 2-8 inches thick. Few protected locations with undisturbed snow (not affected by the wind) exist. Other parties thought they could find soft snow in protected locations and were also unsuccessful.


Our most surprising observation today: We found rounding (moist) basal facets at the bottom of the snowpack up to 4000'. Below 3500' the snowpack has stabilized considerably due to the warm up and rain event 11/24 which turned all the facets into rounds and rounding facets.

See pit

Photos & Video
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