Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Road Observations

Route & General Observations

Road observations and short hike up IM ski trail

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 avalanches of various types: persistent slabs, wet slabs, wet loose. What a mixed bag and unique October winter. Coverage is way ahead of normal. Take a look at Gold Chord, that pile of rocks is white!

Many observations from the public, thank you! Professional HPAC observations are just getting started for the season.

One important avalanche observation is the elevation of the early season rain line which formed the buried crust many avalanches slid on during the Halloween Zombie Avalanche Cycle (HZAC). A preliminary hypothesis is an approximated 4000' rain level. Good examples of this are April Bowl and the multiple large avalanches in Lone Tree Gulch, near Tea Cup Peak (look down the mint valley). These avalanches show a widespread avalanche problem the appears to cease above ~4000'.

Another interesting find today were saturated grains 2 feet down. This was expected, but we are glad to verify this. Ideally the snowpack was completely saturated, and the next big freeze will bring widespread stability. Keep tabs on the temps.

While South and West aspects showed widespread wet loose and wet slab activity (during HZAC) up to D2 or 2.5, northerly, cooler aspects appear to have stayed intact. We are hypothesizing that while these aspects did not naturally avalanche, the persistent slab problem will persist and stability will increase slowly over time. Be extremely cautious on all aspects, steep slopes, 35 degree plus, below 4000'.

Again, april bowl re-filled and beautiful turns were left by a handful of skiers today. In light of the very recent avalanches, we recommend strict adherence to safe travel protocol. Ski one at a time to increase rescue resources and limit risk in and near avalanche terrain. There are simply too many avalanche factors for any one brain to make perfect, safe decisions, every time. Accept uncertainty and stack the odds in your favor, OR, give the snowpack some time to adjust and stick to safer, lower angle terrain. Kudos to the recent observers who have been posting great images and video of beautiful riding on lower angle terrain. It wouldn't take a lot for conditions to get really good and for the avalanche hazard to stabilize.

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

Clear, 41F, calm

Snow surface

Low density fluff beginning to facet (NSF)


On East, at 3100', grains down 2 feet have been saturated and have rounded.

Photos & Video
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