Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot and Road Observations

Route & General Observations

Toured from IM parking lot to a sub-peak of Microdot. Breakable crust from 3000′-3800′. The crust became more supportable the higher up I traveled, completely supportable from 3800′-4200′.
I traveled the road system carefully inspecting for evidence of avalanches and dug a few holes at various elevations to inspect moisture saturation of the snowpack. See pictures.

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger NaturalRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect South
Elevation 3800ftSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

Saw this avalanche which failed near the ground during or just after the storm, 12/26-27. D2 in size. The current theory is that a rapid load of rain falling on snow naturally triggered this avalanche and several others. In today's tour the snowpack was dry under two rain crusts near the surface at this elevation.

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)?No
Observer Comments

Red flags observed were limited to recent avalanches failing in old faceted snow near the ground during or just after the storm.
These were observed at the upper elevations running into the mid elevation band. D1.5-2 in size.
No cracking, No collapsing, No avalanches triggered on my tour.
A large group of people reported whumphing in several locations and ECTP Moderate results on buried facets, our PWL of concern.

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

11am to 2pm
32F at 3000'
26F at 4500'
Sky overcast over Hatcher Pass with some light coming through Broken skies to the South
Winds calm

Snow surface

1700' and below, no crust, some standing water on roadway
2500' 1/8-1/4" Crust breakable, frozen roadway 1/2" of ice on road, about 1" of ice in parking lots from here up to top of road- most hazardous part of the day = walking on ice. I saw at least one person fall hard on ice while walking with snowboard in hand.
3000'-3800' 1/2" crust breakable, double crust sandwich with dry snow meat
3800'-4200' 3/4-1" crust completely supportable, very loud skiing, wish I brought earplugs


1700'-2500' Entire snowpack is moist and weak, mostly F hard
2500-3000' Transition to dryer snow under crusts
3000'-4200' dry snow under crusts gaining thickness with elevation, likely supportable crust from 4200'-5000'

Photos & Video
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