Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot, Nosebleed

Route & General Observations

Standard up track up Microdot to inspect snow conditions with warming temps.

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

No collapsing or whumphing observed. No shooting cracks observed. Could see recent avalanches- (3/04/23 South aspect on Eldorado Bowl, 3/03/23 S aspect on Marmot/Vice President). Most southern aspects had numerous >D1 point release wet avalanches. We also saw numerous slides that broke on steeper terrain on southern aspects at the near surface facets layer within the snow pack.

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

Clear skies all day. No clouds. No wind. No precip.

44.5 F @ 11:15 at 3,975', southern aspect
46 F at 12:15 at 4,247' , southern aspect
53 F @ 13:15 at Independence Mine parking lot

Snow surface

On south facing aspects- snow surface was smooth, not loaded. We observed a sun crust forming at all elevations.

On north facing aspects- the snow was low density powder at the surface. Dreamy riding conditions on the northerlies. Nosebleed was fun to ski.


We wanted to see what the effect of the recent rising temps was on the southerly aspects. We noticed that the temps have not been dipping down below freezing overnight at upper elevations for multiple days in a row now so that combined with rising temps in the day could lead to some instabilities within the snowpack. We also were curious about the near surface facets layer and wanted to conduct an ECT test to see how reactive that layer was.

We did multiple ski pole probing tests on our skin track up and conducted several hand shears. We were looking to see how much wet snow was accumulating on the surface of south facing aspects from the toasty sunny day.

We dug one pit at 4,247' on Microdot on a south facing aspect at a 29 degree slope. Snow height was 150 cm. We found three MF crusts- one at the surface and two in the upper layers of the snow pit. We also found near surface facets in between the upper crust layers. Our test results were ECTN29 on the near surface facets and MF crust interface. We did not observe any propagation in our ECT.

Photos & Video
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