Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Martin Mine/Eldorado Bowl/Independence Mine

Route & General Observations

We went for a blustery tour to assess active wind transport of low density snow. We witnessed a few small natural avalanches occur as well as intensionally triggering a small wind slab on a steep side wall gully feature. Winds have transformed the landscape at Hatcher Pass and finding protected pockets of powder will be more challenging.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Southeast
Elevation 4400ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

We watched a natural wind slab in Martin Mine that sympathetically triggered a secondary adjacent small wind slab. Within 20 minutes due to significant wind transport both of these avalanches were blown in and debris quickly became unrecognizable as a recent avalanche. Less than an hour later we watched another natural wind slab release on a small loaded ESE aspect at 3800' between Eldorado and Martin Mine. On our descent we stepped on some steep terrain features and triggered a small wind slab near the creek just north of the IM parking lot.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

We observed significant cracking, collapsing and recent avalanches on our tour.

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

Active wind transport from strong ENE winds was loading and crossloading SE to SW aspects above 3500' during our tour. Plumes and flagging were intermittent but strong on nearby peaks but not nearly as intense as observed across the valley in the Chugach. Winds were reported gusting E 30-36 mph on Marmot at 4500' during our tour and were more accurately like 40-50 mph gusts from East to North to Northwest. Unfortunately wind speeds were not reporting on Hatch.

Temperatures in the teens felt balmy during any calm reprieve from the wind however, single digits and below zero wind chill was observed during intermittent periods with strong and extreme wind gusts.

Snow surface

Recystalized soft powder was observed in protected locations and low elevation. Above 3500' new snow from 1/14-15 has been transported by the wind, scouring windward locations, loading and cross-loading mostly SE to SW aspects while forming wind ripples, scalloping, sastrugi, and building wind slabs. New wind slabs were 1-4" thick in most locations and up to 10" thick in isolated locations.

Photos & Video
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