Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Gold Chord Peak

Route & General Observations

Toured up Gold Chord Peak in the bright sunshine. We did not see any recent large avalanches and only a couple small human triggered slabs and sluffs. Observed stable conditions with some surface wind affect on exposed ridges and windward slopes. No cracking or whumping were observed on our tour.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

No cracking or collapsing were observed today. Few, small natural dry loose sluffs were human triggered today in steep, mostly southerly terrain.

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

Cold and clear with no wind. -8F at Skeetawk and 9F near the top of our tour at 5200 ft.
No new snow since 12/24.

Snow surface

Variable surface conditions with soft snow and thin wind slabs. The soft snow was 4-6 inches deep with very small surface hoar crystals on top. Slabs of wind affected snow were minimal until we reached more exposed slopes in the upper elevation zone. Some areas had 1-2 inch breakable wind slabs from 12/27 and in other locations the slabs were thicker, stiffer, and supported the weight of a person.


On Gold Chord we dug just below 5000 feet and found a depth of 120cm. Although rocks and more shallow snowpack were found not far away. We were able to locate two wind-packed snow layers in the upper third of the snowpack, with round grains going through the faceting process in between and below. These grains may have once been facets that had rounded from warmth and moisture, since then cold and clear conditions have metamorphosed them slowly back into facets. A pronounced crust was found in the bottom third of the snowpack. At the bottom, a layer of moist rounded facets lingers with a solid thin ice layer at the ground.

Photos & Video
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