Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot

Route & General Observations

Toured up Microdot to 4200′ to have a look at the snowpack

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

Skiing down our uptrack below Ray Wallace Bowl on the West side of Microdot Ridge, we experienced one of the largest, longest whumphs of our lives. Dug down and found fist hard facets pouring out beneath a decomposing melt freeze crust. One small whumph further along the descent in the valley.

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

Broken clouds -> overcast -> broken clouds
Calm winds
Lightly snowing
Single digit temperatures

Snow surface

2" new low density snow. The snow was slightly wind affected along Microdot ridge.


Average snow depth along Microdot ridge from 3800 ft to 4200' - 80 cm. Depths ranged from 35 cm to 100 cm in places.

Hand pit at 4000' along standard uptrack: 27 cm of F hard new snow over 15 cm P hard wind slab over melt freeze crust over facets.

Snowpit 1 at 4236: Dug in a thin spot near the starting zone for one of the NW gullies on the windward side. CT16 SC, ECTP16&23 down 30 cm on F hard 3mm cupped facets under a decomposing melt freeze crust. See pit diagram below.

Snowpit 2 at 4203: Dug in a spot with a slab on the leeward side. ECTP 28 down 70 cm on F hard 1.5mm facets. See pit diagram below.

We did not find the patchy buried surface hoar above the melt freeze crust in any of our pits.

Photos & Video
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