Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Government Peak

Route & General Observations

Up slog from Skeetawk. Started early at 7:30 AM, out by 1 PM. Ran into several groups heading in as I was heading out. Skin in was a mix of crusty snow in the shade and firm crust in sunny spots. Checked out snowpack, skied a few runs and then left. LOTS of avalanche sign, being spring. Pit detail below hinted that as the sun cooked things, it would likely change. Would not want to ski that slope in the PM.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

The avalanche debris on Government is from 4/4.

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)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Lots of old avalanche sign, most occurred during last storm cycle, so had some new snow on it. Also, obvious remnant slab sign and some larger debris piles. Palmer side was sun slabbing at 12:00 off the summit ridge.

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

Cloudy and foggy in AM then sunny.

Snow surface

North face still light snow. South and East faces crust in the am, then sketchy sun slab about noon.


Dug two ECT pits, one at the base of the north face and one after rappelling off at the top of the slope. Both were similar. All new snow has consolidated to about 1 foot, then firm layer maybe 1-2" think, then well consolidated cohesive snow for another 3 feet or so gradually turning to sugar. Lower pit failed at 19, but no stratification. Upper at 21. Essentially the consolidated new snow chunked off the old snow. Pit's were dug at 10-10:30 am. Could see how as things warmed the upper new snow layer would be more prone to break free. Also, the potential for the whole snowpack to ride off on the sugar below.

Photos & Video
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