Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Gold Chord

Route & General Observations

A gorgeous day up in Hatcher: calm winds, blue skies, boot top powder…Those who were out relished in the glory of why we ski here. Toured up the south ridge of Gold Chord to assess snow quality, recent sluffs and observed recently skied and ridden terrain.

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.
Avalanche Details

Numerous small (D1) dry loose sluffs observed on SE, S,SW and W facing terrain today. These were largely below rock bands, in tight gully features and steep terrain (40*+). The most action occurred after 11 AM as warming in the upper snowpack occurred. We were able to kick off small sluffs that entrained facets. These were benign, slow moving and easy to mitigate/avoid while descending.
Largest dry loose natural observed was a D1.5 in the Lodge Run on Marmot on a SW aspect at 4400'.

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

Our snowpack is demonstrating cohesion. The only signs of instability were small sluffs in steep terrain. Only a few of these (see photos) were large enough to catch and carry a person, but appeared unlikely to bury them.

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

-Bluebird! The day was crystal clear with blue skies in Hatcher and some thin clouds south over the Chugach. This continued into our field departure time of 1400.
-Winds were calm throughout the day.
-By mid morning/early afternoon (1100-1400), signs of warming in the upper snowpack were causing small natural dry loose.
-No new snow since 3/4

Snow surface

Soft, loose and faceted snow was the theme as we toured up Gold Chord. We could feel areas where old crusts had loosened and had easy ski pole handle penetration, up to 2' in depth on pole tests. Higher up, old wind affect was apparent and the 2/22 and 2/24 storm snow with our last 3-4" from 3/4 appeared lesser, 2-6" in some places in "dust on crust" fashion. Skiing was by far the best on mid-lower angle terrain on the bottom 2/3rds of Gold Chord. With warmer temps on solar aspects were exhibiting mild glopping and you could make a cohesive but dry snowball.


Hand shears and pole tests were performed throughout the day with no alarming results. No formal pits were dug because our only concern was surface instability with dry loose sluffs.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.