Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot Mid-Rib

Route & General Observations

Toured from the Fishhook Lot up the south ridge skin-track of Marmot. Yesterdays new snow was mildly affected by a short duration of winds in the teens gusting to 32mph, as recorded by Marmot weather station. This blast of wind between 3 & 5pm helped changed the consistency from blower low density snow to a more creamy texture. The change in surface density allowed for minor cracking from skis and natural loose dry sluffs in isolated locations.

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

Minor and localized cracking from skis while ascending slopes. A few small natural loose dry avalanches were observed in steep terrain and one slab avalanche all in isolated and extreme terrain.
The small storm slabs we observed were near ridgeline and likely occurred yesterday during peak winds.

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

Cold with an average temperature of -2F above 4000 feet. Temps dropped to -10F by 5pm @ 4500'. Temps at Frostbite @ 2700' dropped to -13F and -10F at IM @ 3550'.
Lingering clouds on the peaks kept visibility to a minimum until around 2PM. Light southeast winds began to increase around 11:00 for about 3 hours gusting in the low 20mph. It felt cold on exposed skin.

Snow surface

The new snow has begun to set-up a bit more densely with the addition of winds. Visible transport during our tour was minimal, although we did see one snowy plume from strong wind near Hatch Peak. The new snow is taking on a slight upside down characteristic with soft dry snow capped with a slight wind skin. This helped create some cracking in small areas around skis on ascent.


We continue to have mostly stable conditions with small incremental jumps in hardness as you dig deeper in the snowpack. The snowpack layering is right-side up with more firm snow near the bottom. Although a layer of basal facets and depth hoar still lingers just above the ground it has been unreactive. Firm layers that previously existed are breaking down due to the prior 2 weeks of cold and dry.

Continuous hand shears during our tour revealed 1-2" thick new stubborn storm slabs in isolated locations, mostly near ridgeline. We observed few small natural storm slabs from yesterday. Pole tests were varied with mostly low density snow in protected locations especially on our route up the south ridge of Marmot . However, on our descent and traverse across the base of Marmot forward momentum was slow and it was hard to move as a result of new wind transported and slightly inverted cakey snow that was considerably more dense.

Photos & Video
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