Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot S Ridge to Mid-rib

Route & General Observations

From Fishhook lot we toured up the south face of Marmot towards the Mid-Rib. With excellent visibility we were able to see the remnants of older avalanches that ran 12/22-23, including the three that were human triggered on Marmot on Saturday. A common theme was that the older slab avalanches were specific to mid and upper elevation W/SW aspects, with many of them originating from or just below wind-loaded ridgelines. Cornices have been growing in size from strong winds 12/22-24 and were a catalyst for some of these avalanches. Firm snow surfaces are most obvious above 3500 ft and range from 1-4″ in thickness.


Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

We did not observe any recent avalanches, cracking, or collapsing on our tour today. The most recent avalanches occurred 12/23.

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

Cold morning with minus temperatures at the start. Mostly clear skies with light winds from the northwest and evidence of previously blown snow.

Snow surface

Low elevation surface snow looked soft and plentiful with minor wind affect and snow remaining in the trees below 2000 ft.

At mid elevation, we saw previous evidence of moderate wind transport on east to southwest aspects and deposition on west to north aspects. Windward facing slopes have been scoured nearly down to the ground in some locations at upper elevation.

Near 4100' ridgelines, about half way down slopes on leeward aspects the snow was soft with wind deposited snow. In more wind exposed locations we felt the firm wind slab from 12/22-24 underfoot. These wind slabs are buried by 5" of new snow from 12/24.


In our southwest pit location we found a relatively shallow snowpack devoid of firm crust layers. The wind affected snow we did find was below 5 inches of more recent soft snow and was 4Finger hardness. Stability tests conducted found no propagation on the most recent firm wind slab. It was stubborn to fail even with hard forces exerted. The basal layer is rounding facets and may forever linger at the bottom of the snowpack. See picture

Photos & Video
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