Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Independence Mine Area (Lost Couloir)

Route & General Observations

Normal uptrack to upper Indepence Mine area then up Lost Couloir. Good vis until 2 pm when the storm rolled in. Dug pit on the apron of couloir. E Aspect at 3900′ ECTX. 30cm of settled storm snow sheared off easily with shovel shear. Small windslabs in the couloir.

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

In the couloir we found isolated windskins and windslabs that ranged from 1" to 6" that were moderately bonded to loose dry snow. They would crack in 10' sections between switchbacks. We triggered tiny windslabs (6" deep by 10' that slide 50' vertical) while riding the couloir.

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

High single digits at parking lot with light winds until 4000' then 10 mph southerly winds. As per usual we skinned up in excellent visibility only for it to go full whiteout immediately before dropping.

Snow surface

Excellent soft snow on the skin up until 4000' when we found wind affected snow but still very skinnable/edgeable. Boot packing up Lost Couloir ranged from boot deep to waist deep wallowing. Small soft windskins and windslabs in the couloir.


Dug pit on the apron of couloir. E Aspect at 3900' ECTX. Overdrive taps produced no results. Total snow depth 220 cm, unsure if some of this attributed to sluff debris. 30cm of soft settled storm snow sheared off easily with shovel shear. An obvious layer existed about 50 cm down that pried off easily with shovel behind column, but this was my first day at Hatcher all season and I'm unsure what the layer was. Overall snowpack was right side up with the base feeling pretty solid.

Small soft isolated pockets of windslabs in the couloir. The old storm sluff debris in couloir and apron had been faceted by the cold temps and rode well.

Photos & Video
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