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Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Government Peak

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Skinned up from 1250′ to 3300′ on Government Peak and skied down. Two small hard slab avalanches that looked to have occurred during the 2/16-2/18 storm observed on NNE aspects at 2900′ and 3200′. Small avalanche that looked to have occurred during the same storm across the valley on W aspect of Arkose Ridge at the top of alder line. Superb ski quality.

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)?No
Observer Comments

Two small hard slab avalanches (HS-NS-R1-D1-S) on NNE aspects at 2900' and 3200' that looked to have occurred during the latest storm (2/16-2/18). The avalanches released in terrain estimated to be between 30-35 degrees. Debris blocks were up to 3' high and 4' wide. Isolated repeated whumphing at 1470'.

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

Overcast transitioning to obscured. S-1 starting at 3pm. S2 3:30-4 pm. S1 after 4pm. Light to moderate SW winds. Temperatures in the upper teens to lower 20s F with temperatures decreasing in the afternoon.

Snow surface

2" new low density snow fell during our tour (ending at 5 pm). Below this new snow is settled powder below 2800' and wind pressed powder above 2800'. On steep S and SE aspects we found a 3 cm breakable melt freeze crust believed to be formed by the sun yesterday.

Snowpack

We dug several pits on our tour looking to see how the snowpack is adjusting to the new load.

Pit 1: 1470', HS=110 cm, 32 degree slope, NNE aspect, several whumps in this location. ECTP 8 x 2 and PST 15/100 END down 55 cm on a 1cm thick layer of 3 mm facets sitting on top of a 2 cm thick decomposing melt freeze crust. The snow above and below the facet/melt freeze crust layer the snow was F hard.

Pit 2: 1572', HS=85 cm, 38 degrees slope, S aspect. ECTPV down 80 cm on basal facets. ECTP 15 and PST 27/100 END down 45 cm on F hard 2 mm facets sitting on a 2 cm decomposing melt freeze crust. F hard snow above and below the facet/melt freeze crust layer.

Pit 3a: dug in a wind loaded area near the crown of HS-NS-R1-D1 that looked to have occurred during the 2/16-2/18 storm at 2881'. HS=135 cm, 20 degree slope, NNE aspect. ECTP 27 down 97 cm on 2mm facets over a 4F hard decomposing melt freeze crust/facet sandwich to the ground. The slab was predominantly 1 F with portions of 4F.

Pit 3b: dug in a wind loaded area near the crown of HS-NS-R1-D1 that looked to have occurred during the 2/16-2/18 storm at 2881'. HS=250 cm, 20 degree slope, NNE aspect. ECTP24 down 20 cm to 90 cm on a sloping plane on a density change in the wind slab.

Pit 4: 3182', HS=110', ~20 degrees, NNE aspect. ECTX.

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