Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Skyscraper Ridgeline

Route & General Observations

AAS Level 2 group toured up to Skyscraper ridgeline to assess the overnight changes in the amount of new snow and the wind re-distribution.

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

Minor small volume dry loose snow sluffing when skiing down ~35 degree chute.
No other red flags observed.

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

Sky overcast most of the day, with short period of clearer weather around 1pm.
Snowing lightly most of the day, approx one inch of accumulation during our tour.
Light east winds at lower elevations, moderate wind at ridgetop.
Temperature ranged in the teens.
Low visibility impacted skiing experience.

Snow surface

1-6 inches of new snow on top of hard crust.
Above Hatcher Pass , wind scoured ridge had very little new snow but bare meltfreeze crust making skinning difficult and bootpacking more efficient mode of travel.
In places we found 1-2 inches soft wind slab that broke under our feet.


Snowpack depth varied from 20cm of melfreeze crust to 150cm more loaded snowpack .
We dug formal pits at the 3800' on SW aspect in a windloaded zone. In our tests, we found a layer of concern, facets above meltfreeze crust 30-50cm down from the surface, but overall the layer was unreactive and showed no propagation propensity. New storm snow had an interesting failure plane ~5 cm from top noted on shovel tilt test, but we think it is just density change, as we could not find surface hoar or near surface facets in it.
We wanted to evaluate the existence and distribution of new windslabs, but did not find any on our tour, only some windpacked 4F hardness surface snow.

Photos & Video
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