Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot

Route & General Observations

Alaska Avalanche School Level 1 Travel Day. Our class split up into 3 groups and my group toured up to ~3400′ on Marmot S Ridge from Mile 16 lot and skied back down. Variable snow conditions ranging from 4″+ thick wind slabs on SW and E aspects to 1-2″ of snow on melt freeze crust or bare melt freeze crust on S aspects. One shooting crack noted on a wind loaded SW aspect.

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

One 5' shooting crack in a wind loaded area on a SW aspect

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

Variable snow surface conditions ranging from 4"+ thick wind slabs on SW and E aspects to 1-2" of snow on sun crust or bare sun crust on S and SE aspects. The sun crust ranged from breakable to firm and supportable. Note that as soon as we noted wind slabs underfoot we ventured off them due to reactive wind slabs yesterday. Wind slabs ranged from supportable to breakable. The wind slabs are likely thicker in many leeward locations.


No formal stability tests. The new settled snow or wind transported snow is either sitting on top of near surface facets on shaded aspects or on suncrusts ranging from 1-3" thick over facets.