Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Mid-Rib/Nose (Marmot) and Willow Side Hatcher Pass

Route & General Observations

It seems like our April winter revival has shifted back to true spring. But while solar input–and now crusts–have been abundant since 22″ of snow on 4/12, temperatures have not actually been getting above freezing (see Marmot weather data). While norths have been frequently skied, you might have noticed that there are not a lot of tracks on south aspects. We went out to assess snowpack and ski quality on Marmot’s WSW shots as this season’s snowpack paradigm shifts more to spring. We then hopped on snowmachines to check out Hatcher Pass proper and the Willow side for more observations.

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 UnknownRemote Trigger Unknown
Avalanche Type UnknownAspect Unknown
ElevationunknownSlope Angleunknown
Crown DepthunknownWidthunknown
Vertical Rununknown  
Avalanche Details

Several slab avalanches have recently occurred (~24 hours) off of Government Peak NE. We could not confirm if they were natural or skier triggered. At least several looked to be natural dry loose sluffs that stepped down to a firm, uniform persistent weak layer where it was easy to observe crowns and smooth bed surfaces. The largest (D2) of these avalanches is lookers' right/further northwest.

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

Recent slab avalanches (D1-D2) observed on Northeast Government.

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

Temperatures felt cold in the morning at 1030. Marmot Wx station read 19* at 1000. Although solar input softened snow surfaces, cold temperatures made for a delayed warming effect. Sunny to broken skies by the late afternoon.

Snow surface

Snow surfaces are variable. West was a smattering of supportive and breakable crusts with rounding facets below. These ranged from 2-3" to almost one foot in thickness (see photo). We were too early for corn skiing, although true souths seemed promising by 1200. The upper snowpack was moist by 1300. We did see a party ski S/SE on Marmot and it looked pretty fun by 1500. Norths are hanging in there in areas that have not been impacted by the brief moderate SSE winds we received in the last 24 hours.


Our structure remains in transition. On solar aspects, we observed strong, cohesive solar melt freeze crusts on top of largely rounds and rounding facets. The lower pack (20cm to ground) was rounding, healing depth hoar. This structure does not appear immediately concerning (ECTX, CTN), but may present as an issue as we move towards warmer temperatures without overnight freezes over several days.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.