Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot NW "Lodge Run" & Japanese Trees

Route & General Observations

Splitboarded from HP Lodge around the lower benches below Rae Wallace and Marmots “Lodge Run” to get info about recent melting and new wind slab development in the mid and upper elevations. Saw a recent small wind slab avalanche in the “Lodge Run” and newly forming sensitive slabs on north through west aspects of the upper elevations. Later in the afternoon I toured up the Japanese Trees just south of Skeetawk. In this low elevation zone I found moist unconsolidated snow to the ground but fine conditions upon the descent, similar to spring corn shredding.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Northwest
Elevation 4000ftSlope Angle 44deg
Crown Depth 8inWidth 45ft
Vertical Run 80ft  
Avalanche Details

Small D1 wind slab avalanche in Lodge Run that went a short distance in the overall slide path. The debris was soft and left behind a crown that was around 9 inches thick. On similar crossloaded slopes I could propagate cracks within the new wind slabs which went +25 feet away from my split-skis. The slabs were moderately sensitive and disconnected in their continuity across the slopes.

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

With low visibility and poor light quality I was only able to see the one natural slab avalanche in Lodge Run. I did see several small loose wet avalanches in the lower elevation on steep slopes and along the roadway where you encounter cliffs.

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

Strong winds in the upper elevations with extreme gusts, below freezing tempertaures and a brief period of light snow showers. Mid elevation was the transition zone for weather with moderate winds and temperatures near freezing untill a peak of 36F in the afternoon around 3000 feet. Low elevation saw light winds and temperatures above freezing for over a week.

Snow surface

Upper elevation has a firm slick melt-freeze crust with 2-10 inches of soft dry snow in isolated pockets on leeward and cross-loaded terrain. Blowing snow at ridges and sensitive slabs found on north through west aspects.
Mid elevation is a mix of rain capped crust and soft punchy snow. This area has had a diurnal refreeze overnight with traces of new snow found in protected and leeward slopes.
Low elevation has suffered a lot of melting with +40 degrees temps and has moist unconsolidated snow surfaces.


Actively changing and highly variable snowpack as you gain elevation. Windward slopes are scoured and the snowpack is thinner and harbors more facets and depth hoar especially in the upper elevation. A breakable melt-freeze crust has developed during unseasonably warm high elevation temperatures. There is a sharp contrast in color between the old snow and new snow making the newly formed wind slabs easier to see from a distance.
I have less certainty with the mid elevation since I did not tour there but did quickly investigate the snow around goldmint lot. Around 10AM the snow and roadway was slick and ice covered.
Low elevation snowpack was moist and unconsolidated with round clustered grains in the upper 1/3 of the snowpack. The middle of the snowpack was rounding facets while the bottom 1/3 was rounding depth hoar. The snowpack was mostly right-side-up and felt like spring conditions a month too early.

Photos & Video
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