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Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot, Swimmin' Tims run

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

 

Standard up track on west ridge of Microdot.
Observed recent avalanche at NE end of bowl between Microdot and Marmot.
New snow overnight, around 6″ at IM weather observation.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Soft Slab
Aspect SouthElevation 4500ft
Slope Angle 35degCrown Depth 12in
Width 80ftVertical Rununknown
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

Skier was slowly feeling their way down the slope. About 7 turns down a small area fractured underneath the skier then shot out and about 4 feet above the skier the slab released. The skier didnt have much momentum and fell down then fought to swim out and was able to self arrest with hand and pole into the bed surface.
The crown showed about a 12" depth at the center and down to about 4" to the far skier's right side of the crown. The avalanche continued down the rest of the slope. The debris pile developed when the terrain shallowed out.

Events of the day

3 person group with 1 person being a new ski partner to the other 2. Up track was out of view of most of the south facing aspects we hoped to ski. Sun came out on the ridge and we went higher than we initially intended. We observed the snowpack was showing signs of poor stability with recent avalanches on leeward aspects and it seemed the soft snow on the surface wasn't bonded with the hard surface beneath it. We chose terrain without obstacles or terrain traps but failed to choose a slope with appropriate lower angle with the observed snowpack stability. We came up with a travel plan of 1 at a time and to remain in view of each other at all times. Skier 1 triggered the avalanche. After self arresting, skier 1 descended down the avalanche track as it was likely the safest route down.

Rescue events

Not applicable.

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)?Yes
Observer Comments

Observed recent avalanches in the area. There was a recent avalanche on a similar aspect of the slope we triggered but we didn't see it until after we met up at the bottom of the avalanche path.
Shooting cracks were observed on the slope above the crown when skier 2 descended to the bed surface after skier 1 triggered the avalanche.

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

IM weather station reported 6" new snow overnight.
15deg, partly sunny. Wind variable speed and directions from calm to 10mph on ridgelines.

Snow surface

New snow. In some areas the surface was a faint beginning of a wind slab.

Snowpack

Light snow on top of hard packed snow. Some variable soft slab texture in the new snow.

Photos & Video
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