Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Independence Mine Area

Route & General Observations

Skinned up towards Murphy Lake. Turned around just before the moraine, due to widespread, long-ranging collapses and recent wet-slab avalanches on NW side of Microdot. Many areas with thinner snowpack (approx. less than 70 cm) was isothermal or near isothermal, at elevations of 3000-3500′. In areas with shallower snowpack we would sink to the ground with our skis.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Wet SlabAspect West Northwest
Elevation 4100ftSlope Angle 38deg
Crown Depth 18inWidth 35ft
Vertical Run 150ft  
Avalanche Details

Two natural wet slabs (D1-D1.5), one went to the ground. Estimated crowns to be 18" and on slopes of roughly 38ยบ. Yesterday or last night also saw two wet avalanches in Martin mine gully (D1-D1.5), one for sure slab, the other might have been wet loose, both scoured or stepped down to the ground.

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

Very wet surface snow, with areas of isothermal snowpack.

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

The night of 4/31-5/1, saw above freezing air temps, but a decent re-freeze due to radiant cooling. The night of 5/1-5/2 was cloudy and snowpack did not re-freeze below 4000'. 5/2 was overcast with periods of fog, and a light drizzly rain starting in the afternoon.

Snow surface

Wet to very wet.


Found collapses in snowpack CT4, down 6" and CT12 down 20", on W aspect 3400'
Test slope below Eldorado Bowl (N aspect) produced wet slabs failing roughly 10" down on "new" (April 17) - old snow interface, when stomping on roll-over.

Photos & Video
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