Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot, Murphy Lake Area, Cross Hill to Death Traverse

Route & General Observations

Our third day of class was our traveling day and our class split into 3 groups traveling to the following locations: 1) Ascended and descended Microdot Ridge and ascended and descended to Murphy Lake from the nordic ski track 2) Ascended Cross Hill, traversed the Death Traverse, descended the Rock Gardens, skied a second lap off the SE aspect of Cross Hill. 3) Ascended Microdot Ridge, skied a NW aspect couloir to Murphy Bench, ascended up above Murphy Lake and skied Nosebleed, ascended to and skied off the Death Traverse.

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

Some natural loose dry sluffing off of rocks on a North/Northwest aspects of Microdot and on a steep, Southwest aspect in the hanging valley at the North end of the Death Traverse. Many slope testers were out and about, booting up and skiing down very steep lines without incident.

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

Partly cloudy, no precip, calm to light wind, temps in the 20s

Snow surface

Variable conditions abound. Mix of strastrugi, decomposing precip particles and near surface facets over "slide for life" crust, and breakable wind slab from 1 -15 cm. Northerly aspects were the most wind protected and held the best ski conditions.


We did not dig any snow pits; however, hand pits on Microdot ridge were failing on isolation either between wind slabs and underlying facets or 1 foot down in the snowpack on facets over a melt freeze crust.