Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Road Obs

Route & General Observations

Snowmachined (as state parks employee) from Independence Mine down to Fishhook Lot to put in the trail corridor and drove down to Archangel trailhead to look for recent avalanches after the New Years’ storms. Widespread small loose dry avalanches were observed on on all aspects on steep slopes above 3000′. Yesterday’s 10″ of snow looks to have fallen with little wind in Independence Bowl; however, the new snow is noticeably wind affected along Arkose Ridge, the Sunnyside of Hatch, and Peak 4068.

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

Widespread small loose dry avalanches observed on all aspects on steep slopes above 3000'. Although these avalanches did not entrain much snow, they were far running.

Sluffing/small loose dry avalanches noted from ski tracks on steep slopes on SE aspect of Microdot.

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

Clear skies, no precipitation, calm to light winds, and temperatures in the single digits.

Snow surface

10" of low density snow in Independence Mine Bowl. The new snow is wind affected along Arkose Ridge, Peak 4068 and the Sunnyside of Hatch. In windward areas rocks are exposed in places and wind pillows and texturing are noticeable in leeward areas.


Along the snowmachine trail being put in by AK State Parks from Fishhook Lot to Hatcher Pass Lodge and connecting up to Hatcher Pass road, the snowpack often feels bottomless with no base. In these areas boot penetration is knee to neck deep (in wind drifted areas). In some areas a slab can be found beneath the new snow that is sometimes supportable.

Photos & Video
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