Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Hatch Peak

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Up 1000 Dollar Run, up North Ridge Hatch Peak to Hatch Common Summit, Descend Northeast aspect of Hatch Common, descend 1000 Dollar Run.

 

 

 

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

Its worth noting that it's easy to underestimate the avalanche danger during the early season. Its an easy mistake to assume there is not enough snow in the mountains for avalanches to occur. Today we witnessed one rider remotely trigger an avalanche, we remotely triggered another avalanche, and we ran into a backcountry traveler who remotely triggered yet another avalanche. We also received a report of another possible remotely triggered avalanche on peak 4068. There are probably more out there we have not heard about. Of particular note here is that if you look around the mountains, you may not see evidence of avalanching, however, this is not indicative of the actual hazard. The snowpack is at a critical balance, which will slowly improve over time, however this balance only requires a person to approach a slope to trigger an avalanche. You can trigger avalanches from the flats, from below a slope, or adjacent to a slope. Pay careful attention here, as you may be able to trigger avalanches remotely from a large distance away which could affect other users that you may not know are in harms way.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Soft Slab
Aspect NorthElevation 3900ft
Slope Angle 38degCrown Depth 24in
Width 350ftVertical Run 500ft
Avalanche Details

We triggered an avalanche remotely from 50 feet away, loud whumph. Avalanche failed at and near ground. No involvement. SS-ASr-D2-O.

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

Upside down snowpack, with weak basal faceted snow. We witnessed a rider trigger an avalanche remotely near ridgeline on Hatch Common, HS-ARr-D1.5-O, 1-3 feet deep x 100 feet wide x 100 feet vertical run. We spoke with a backcountry skier who triggered an avalanche remotely in April Bowl from 50 feet away. Appears to be SS-ASr-D1.5-2-O. Likely 2 feet deep x 150 feet wide x 400 vertical.

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

Cool temps, calm at 3500'. light breeze at 4500'. Clear skies. 3pm 4500' 20F, 3500' 24F, Palmer airport 33F

Snow surface

Light wind effect is widespread, with locations of moderate wind loading and snow drifting at and near ridgelines around 4000 feet +. Low density snow near the surface was easily affected by storm winds, with scalloping in specific areas, generally near summits and ridgelines.

Snowpack

Approximately 12" of new snow at 3500'. The storm warmed up and cooled off leaving an upside down density change in the new snow.

Primary layer of concern is weak basal faceted snow sitting on the ground. A second weak layer sits just above the ground in the snowpack, sandwiched between stronger, harder snow layering. The recent dump of 12" of new snow overloaded these weak layers and allowed for sensitive human triggers, including remote triggers from distances of 50 feet. It does not appear that the 10/26 snow load was enough to trigger a natural avalanche cycle, however, we only have limited observations and reports at this time.

Photos & Video
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