Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Independence Mine

Route & General Observations

General observations from the last three days during Alaska Avalanche School Level 1 course.
Several routes covered around the Independence Mine valley area.

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 NaturalRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

Multiple small D1 wind slabs observed on Feb 1st due to increased easterly winds the previous night and morning.
Crown heights were on average 10cm deep. Shallow, isolated pockets.

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)?No
Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Cold temps, single digits to teens. Clear skies.
Tuesday-Wednesday calm winds in valley, light to moderate winds on ridgetops.
Thursday Feb 1st moderate to strong winds in valley and ridgetops with active wind loading.

Snow surface

Variable snow surface: powder pockets, wind crust, sastrugi and areas of exposed old rain crust.


Snowpits around the valley showed poor structure, moderate to strong strength and low energy.
Weak layers consisted of widespread buried surface hoar 15-30cm down, mid-pack facets varying from 30-60cm down, basal facets/depth hoar found in thinner areas.
Tests results varied from CTVQ1 to CTN on the surface hoar and ECTP24 to ECTX failing mostly on the mid-pack facet layer.

Photos & Video
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