Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot West Face/General Obs

Route & General Observations

Skied Marmot West Face, practicing terrain progression. Set standard Marmot skin track, glassed for avalanche activity, and spoke with other users about snow conditions.

Toured from 1000 to 1600.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger UnknownRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

Multiple loose dry and storm slab avalanches observed on all aspects, angles, and elevations today. Observed loose dry avalanches were D1 in size (although reports of bigger sluff running in north facing high elevation steep terrain).

Some natural storm slab avalanches (some happened mid storm) were observed through binoculars. These were up to D2 in size. Trigger points on the storm slabs were at high elevations, near ridge tops. Avalanches appeared to be running on both buried sun crust and buried wind skin (old snow/new snow interface).

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

Very isolated shooting cracks in specific wind loaded pockets. Recent loose dry, wet loose and storm slab avalanches. Rapid load of 10 inches of new snow in about 10 hours on Saturday and 0.5″ SWE at 3500′. The storm was accompanied by wind SSE 10-15 G 16-22 for 7 hours at 4500′.

Known deep persistent slab problem.

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

Mar 22nd 10:00 am 17.5F RH95 Winds 1mph N gusting to 8mph
Mar 22nd 12:00 pm 16.8F RH95 Winds 3mph WNW gusting to 7mph
Mar 22nd 2:00 pm 17.9F RH94 Winds 3mph NW gusting to 10mph
Mar 22nd 4:00 pm 15.5F RH84 Winds 3mph ESE gusting to 10mph

Winds were slightly stronger than recorded from the North at certain points during the tour. Small amounts of snow were being transported. This wind kept south and west facing slopes cold, although sun effect was evident towards the end of the tour (at around 1600).

10 inches of storm snow recorded at Independence Mine SnowTel seems accurate.

Snow surface

Powder skiing. The new Hatcher Pass normal?!


No formal snow pits performed today. Multiple hand shears on new/old snow interface reveal good bonding, Hand-H (although there is a planar break on some on the harder sun crust/wind board bed surfaces). Ski cuts in steep loaded high altitude terrain released small dry loose sluffs that were managed easily. Reports of deeper, faster sluffs in high altitude, steep north facing terrain.

Notably there was no deep persistent slab avalanche activity observed today.

Photos & Video
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