Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Eldorado Bowl> Easter Storm recon

Route & General Observations

Took advantage of the sunshine post storm to assess stability after the Easter Bunny Special that deposited 8-23″ of new snow at Hatcher Pass on 3/30-31. We observed several D1-D2 natural storm and wind slabs that occurred the day prior. Two parties triggered storm slabs on southerly aspects today. We had propagation in our pit on a north aspect at 4200′ 23″/60cm down. We did not observe any whumping or cracking but did observe recent avalanches. Other parties reported whumping. A couple close calls were had today by other parties. Read obs for more info.

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 UnknownRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

See obs for more info on today's human triggered avalanches
Sunnyside of Hatch human triggered slab avalanche, SE 4000' SS-ARu-D2-I
Skyscraper ESE 4400' SS-ARu-D1.5-I

Our party did not have any whumping, cracking, or trigger any avalanches.

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

No cracking or collapsing were observed by our party. We did see recent storm slabs and a few wind slabs.

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

New snow 3/30-31
23" with 1.8" SWE @ IM 3550'
8" with 0.7" SWE @Frostbite 2700'

Winds were SE gusting 26-37mph at 4500' early morning then tapered by noon and were calm throughout the day.

Frostbite: 7am 29*F with a high of 34*F
IM: 7am 23*F with a high of 27*F
Marmot: 18*F with a high of 24*F

Snow surface

Snow surfaces were soft and powdery. At upper elevation, a slight inversion could be felt with the first few inches of storm snow that came in slightly warmer and inverted before the storm cooled off. New snow acted like slow pow (powder) that resembled skiing in slow motion and required some effort and pointing the tips downhill to move with any remarkable speed. Soft slabs were very soft and could easily be misdiagnosed as not having any slab characteristics. On north aspects the weak layer is 23"/60cm deep and will require finding a shallow spot combined with a firm faceted bed surface combined with a cohesive slab to trigger an avalanche. These locations do exist but slabs are trending from reactive to stubborn and will be harder to find and propagate over the next 24-48 hours.


Eldorado Bowl
N aspect 4200'
HS 340cm
ECTP11, 15 60cm down
340-280cm> new snow, F hard
280-270cm>4F+ rounding NSF on top of a 4F firm and old deteriorating wind slab
*Didn't dig any deeper> only concern was new snow/old snow interface

Hand shears and pole tests confirmed mostly right side up snowpack and lack of cohesion/slab characteristics in many locations.

Photos & Video
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