Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Independence Mine Area

Route & General Observations

AAS Level One class snowpack day. We had a group below El Dorado Bowl, one group directly west of the mine, and one group on the shoulder of Microdot. Beautiful day, a lot of people skiing what appeared to be beautiful powder. We observed a lot of dry loose avalanches on steep slopes and natural wind slabs on north and northwesterly slopes near the ridge tops.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect North Northwest
Elevation 4000ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Run 175ft  
Avalanche Details

We observed wind slabs on many north and northwest facing aspects just below ridgeline.

We also observed widespread soft slab avalanches on solar aspects that originated at the rocks. All avalanches we observed were D1 in size. However, it looked like Idaho and Punk Spines had a few larger wind slabs, dry loose, or soft slabs that could have been in the D2 range.

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.

Sunny, calm wind, 15 degrees

Snow surface

Beautiful powder


Average snow depth was around 170cm

In all pits, we found rightside-up structure, new snow on top of rounds and small, rounding facets at the ground. The group near the mine and the group on the shoulder of Microdot found ice lenses around 40cm, 60cm, and 90cm from the surface.

All around, every group found good strength and low energy in the snowpack. We had multiple CT results on what we believe were interfaces between layers of new and old snow. Most CT results collapsed in the 10-20 range and were Q3. One pit out or 18 had an ECTN26 20cm from the surface. This pit was on the shoulder of Microdot.

Photos & Video
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