Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: NE face peak 5100

Route & General Observations

Toured from mint trailhead to Delia drainage, followed existing skintrack on East side of drainage then traversed to West side of Delia and East side of 5100, briefly booted to saddle between 5100 and Delia, then skinned up to 5100’s NE face entry point.

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 SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Northeast
Elevation 5000ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 20inWidth 150ft
Vertical Run 800ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

On third ski cut (leap-frogging entrance into line) off NE side of peak 5100, a soft slab avalanche fractured above the 3rd but lowest skier and propagated to either side. Avy was on a subtle, but still noticeable convexity. Bed surface was a crusty layer anywhere from about 1ft(skiers right) to 2ft deep(skiers left) that was present on similar aspects and at similar elevations we skied yesterday (unreactive at that time). Reading previous obs after today's experience, this seems to be the sensitive layer in the region.....N/NE/NW and upper elevations. Slab was soft, so it deteriorated and ran to the typical apron, taking other fresh snow with it, but not likely other slabs, layers or faces.

Events of the day

Our goal was to recon/ski the Delia/5100 lines after touring fairly extensively from NW 5100 couloir back to Mint trailhead the previous day. We looked at N. face Delia and decided to tour to the saddle between 5100 and Delia, then ski NE face of 5100 first, N face of Delia second. We noticed no red flags other than scattered skier/snowmachine triggered slides mostly N and W of the mint TH with none in the arkose zone.
From top of 5100, skier 1 made entry cut and stopped in safe spot. Skier 2 made cut to skier 1, then an additional 2 cut-turns to next safe spot. Skier 3 then bypassed skiers 1 and 2 with intent of more cutting to 3rd safe spot, but below skier 2 and before next safe spot the slab popped above. Avy bag was deployed and skier was swept onto backside and started to gain speed, but shortly after was able to engage skis with the avy bed and ski out/slow descent until the debris passed. Carried perhaps 30yrds? avy bag not truly utilized. We were all still within voice-range, so we discussed options then cautiously and uneventfully skied out.

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

none, other than proportional regional reported avalanches in the setting of high traffic concentration of recreationalists.

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

clear, calm, with mild pulse of E wind 10-15mph the afternoon of 3/12: mild-moderate wind transport not resulting in wind-skin or slab at mid elevations, but some antitracks noticed on ridgelines 3/13 and occasional skin tracks from 3/13 filled in on exposed areas today. 10 degrees at Mint TH both mornings in the shade, warming throughout the day. No new snow since March 9th deposit.

Snow surface

snow was consistent mildly settled dry powder once a few hundred feet above Mint TH elevation if not affected by the sun (S aspects).

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.