Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Hatch Peak

Route & General Observations

We snowmachined to Hatcher Pass proper & toured up Hatch Peak. The objective was to install sensors and components for a new weather station at the summit. We observed D1.5 natural avalanches on the south face of Nixon’s Nose off Skyscraper Mountain. Upon descent we triggered a slab avalanche on the southeast face of Hatch Peak that was up to 2 feet thick.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Southeast
Elevation 4700ftSlope Angle 32deg
Crown Depth 24inWidth 100ft
Vertical Run 80ft  
Avalanche Details

During our tour the winds increased and blowing snow created white-out conditions. Surface snow upon our tour up was 4Finger hardness and avoiding firm slabs was manageable. After a couple hours on the ridge enduring strong winds with gusts to 40mph, surface snow began to firm and cracks under foot were observed. We descended along the ridge avoiding open slopes that were actively being loaded and scoured, sticking to lower angle terrain. Not far from the summit my partner skied across a wind loaded feature and the 1Finger+ hardness slab broke loose under foot. The nearly 2 foot thick slab slide on a layer of buried near surface facets that have formed since the last precipitation event on 12/13. The skier was not caught but the cracks did propagate to me over 50 feet away.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

Natural avalanches in soft storm slabs on steep terrain was observed. Several fresh avalanches hit the marked snowmachine track to the pass.

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

Overcast skies with temperatures in the mid to low teens. Southeast winds were strong with blowing and saltating snow streaming from ridgelines.

Snow surface

Around 9 inches of new snow accumulated since yesterday with little wind effect. Early in the day surface conditions were soft. Throughout the day the surface snow on exposed windward areas was firming considerably.


Southern aspects have been harboring persistent grains and a shallower snowpack. Since the last snow on 12/13 near surface facets have formed which made for good snowboarding but have become the weak interface for this most recent snow. Rapid loading from wind blown snow has deposited fresh & stiff slabs above this unconsolidated layer causing some of these recent avalanches.

Photos & Video
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