Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Independance Mine

Route & General Observations

Skinned up to 3100ft with some stoked students to discuss snowpack and weather. We dug some pits on 12/21 and 12/22. It was an awesome day to be in the mountains minus the cold temps. Clear skies and calm winds. We did not see any recent red flags except one skier triggered a small dry loose on a ~40 E slope. The mountains looked like they were adjusting to the last storm cycle relatively well except for a few isolated pockets of wind loaded gullies. Snowpack was upside down with basal facets at the bottom that were not propagating in snow pits.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Dry Loose SnowAspect East
Elevation 4000ftSlope Angle 40deg
Crown DepthunknownWidth 20ft
Vertical Run 100ft  
Avalanche Details

Skier released a small dry loose in an isolated gully on an east aspect. He was able to ski past it as it ran down behind him

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

12/21: Weather was clear and cold with calm winds. Around 2pm winds began to pick up but there was no sign of active snow loading on ridges or red flags. Overnight winds on 12/21 were evident on leeward crossloaded gullies on S aspects from 3000ft to the peaks and top loading on SE faces covered ski tracks from the day before on Gold Cord Peak.

Snow surface

Mixture of soft faceting snow with variable soft wind crust around 2" thick. Hard wind slabs ~5" thick in isolated S aspects.


We did some hand shear tests on an 18" degree slope 30cm down on a 4Finger layer that was breaking underfoot with hard Q2 shear results.
Our pit site on a W aspect at 3100ft, 18degree slope had an upside down structure.
Hardness Test: HS: 130cm
Fist hardness to 4Finger with 2 crust layers at 60cm and 50cm. The bottom had 15cm of Fist depth hoar
Test results in our pits were CT16 and CT25 down 20cm Q2 with ECT results: ECTN27, ECTX x2.

Photos & Video
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