Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Lane Glacier

Route & General Observations

Our plan was to ski Lane Glacier. Snow was nice at lower elevations, but it became wind affected at about 4,800′. We turned around at about 5,000′ when the snowpack became so hollow our pole plants sounded like drum beats and ski penetration went to 0mm. Snowmachine tracks were only penetrating a few cm. We spoke to sled-snowboarders later who told us the conditions did not improve higher up. No obvious signs of instability, but if that slab went, it would go huge.

We descended back to good snow at 4,700′, then ascended a south-facing couloir on the ridge West of Lane Glacier.
Snow varied from crotch deep rotten dry facets, to ankle deep wind affected old powder, to kicking hard steps in wind board, sometimes within 50 feet. It skied surprisingly well from 5,300′ back to 4,700′, then the skiing was truly excellent from 4,700′ to 3,700′. Deep soft surface facets and good sloughing in the last 1000 vertical feet.

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