Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot

Route & General Observations

From Fishhook lot to Marmot.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger Foot PenetrationRemote Trigger0
Avalanche Type Hard SlabAspect Unknown
Elevation 2600ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 12inWidth 50ft
Vertical Run 50ft  
Avalanche Details

One recent (early morning on 1/29 ?) human triggered avalanche observed this week, just to the east of the Fishhook parking lot under Marmot. Marmot shoulder, South facing, ~2650′, ~ 35° slope. The avalanche was approximately 25' wide X 50' long X 1' deep. This specific location has a thin snowpack structure, likely due to wind scouring early in the season, then loaded with the Xmas/New Years wind slab. It appears that this hard slab avalanche may have been triggered on the lower end of the slab, breaking above the head(s) of the travelers. The harder the slab the better the possibility of triggering it from below. This is a great example of why it is important to space out when traveling in avalanche terrain, a larger avalanche would not be as forgiving.

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

Whumphing in specific locations has been reported a number of times, both recent, and through the last couple weeks, and has turned around a number or backcountry travelers.

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

Weather this week at 4500′: The temperature averaged 25°F. Wind speeds averaged ESE 10 mph, the average gust was 16 mph. The 27th was gusty with a max gust of 48 mph, but little snow to transport.

Snow surface

On 1/28-1/29, 6" of new snow at Gold Cord (4050') and 4" new snow at IM Snotel (3500'). The new blanket of light density powder has improved the winter aesthetics of Hatcher Pass, however it is so light that you are still riding on the older snow surfaces underneath.

Photos & Video
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