Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Gold Mint

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Toured up to Gold Mint Avalanche (see Nicholas Klco’s 3/29 OBS) to take pictures, dig a pit, and to assess general snow characteristics. Poor to fair visibility, poor to fair ski quality. Great company, thanks P$!

Avalanche Details
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Trigger UnknownAvalanche Type Hard Slab
Aspect West NorthwestElevation 2800ft
Slope Angle 35degCrown Depth2ft
Width 150ftVertical Run 300ft
Avalanche Details

This avalanche was reported by Nicholas Klco in a 3/29 public observation. Today I toured up to have a look. Wind effect post avalanche obscured the crown face. It is unknown whether this avalanche is skier/boarder triggered or a natural. See Nicholas's obs for initial pictures of slide.

HS-U-R2-D2-0

Pit data and instability tests from near site were non conclusive. Best guess is that a wind slab over loaded deeper persistent slab, failing at about 2-2.5 feet deep in old snow. This failure is at a density change from 1F to P (bed surface being P). This observer found no persistent grains at the aforementioned interface (does't mean they aren't there).

Notably, the debris measured up to 175cm deep in places with large hard blocks big enough to seriously injure or kill a person. This was a small but potentially deadly avalanche.

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

Hollow, wind loaded areas. Obvious areas of wind slab. Known persistent slab problem with overall poor snowpack structure.

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

2800ft, Gold Mint zone.

1330-1700: Obscured skies, partly clearing to broken. Light airs from SE 8-12mph. S-1. 25-28 degrees F.

Snow surface

In this location the snow surface was a combination of supportable wind board, melt freeze crust, sastrugi, breakable crust, and "other". The skiing from 2500ft to 2300ft was pretty good, settled powder and NSF?.

Up to 30cm thick P hard wind slab in places.

Snowpack

HS @ 2800ft W aspect, 220cm.

CTM BRK down 30cm (below MF crust) x 2
ECTN 11

CTH BRK 60cm on density change btw 1F and P x 2.

From 85cm down to ground there were a combination of depth hoar, facets, and rounding facets.

Photos & Video
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