Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Lone Tree Gulch

Route & General Observations

(re-posting this on Jan 8, original post on Jan 6 was lost in the ether. this pit is interesting since a large slide happened nearby on a similar aspect 24hrs later)
From gold mint lot along Little Susitna xc trail, crossed the river just east of Lonesome Mine, and worked through the boulder field under the 4232′ high point. Very sketchy snow noted at 2,800′ on E and NE aspects. Ascended the west aspect slope shown on the map to 4100′. We thought that the low angle west facing gullies there would harbor soft snow. They didn’t, at all. Winds had obviously downsloped and made a breakable hard slab.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

At 2800' on E and NE faces under the 4232' highpoint above Lonesome Mine we encoutered a really hollow snowpack. Pole probes found a medley of crusts and soft layers with a thick (20cm?) layer of "empty feeling" facets at the base. We tiptoed one at a time until on SE aspects at 3,100' and the snow got firmer and probe test didn't fall into a void below.

No obvious instabilities noted on the slope we hoped to do turns on. But, all the suspect layers mentioned in the forecast were present.

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

3-6" of soft powder over a crust along the river and up to 2700.
mostly a dusting over hard wind crusts above that on all aspects.


Pit dug at 3,750', west aspect, 28deg slope, in a wind deposit gully.
HS 150cm (ranged from 115 to 190cm in the immediate area)
@150cm - 1-3cm of soft wind deposited snow
147-130 - Pencil hard slab
130-125 - Fist hard facets
125-80 - Pencil hard slab
80-75 - Melt/Freeze crust
5-0cm - dry basal facets

CT8 @30cm down on the fist-hard facet layer, Q2
CT-hand pry above the melt freeze crust, on BSH?

ECTN17 within the fist-hard facet layer.

Photos & Video
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