Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Stairstep

Route & General Observations

From the roadside pull-off I toured up Stairstep looking for surface crusts and signs of instability due to warming. The visibility was flat light and the temperature was 36F degrees around noon. A breakable surface crust was prominent lower on the slope but softened from melting as I ascended. Loose unconsolidated moist snow can be found in the low elevation with over knee-deep boot penetration. Snow bridges across the creek are becoming soft and untrustworthy.

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

Overcast skies and temperatures near 40F degrees during the heat of the afternoon. Calm winds and a trace of new snow.

Snow surface

Variable surface conditions with mostly unsupportable crusts or soft moist snow. A trace of new snow in the last 24 hours was rimed and melting. Climbing steep southerly slopes is difficult in some locations due to unconsolidated loose wet snow.


The snowpack is trending warmer and wetter due to overnight temperatures mostly above freezing in the low elevation. For the last 3 evenings Frostbite weather station, at 2700 feet, has reported evening low temperatures barely freezing at 32F degrees. This elevation zone is showing signs of a spring snowpack, but has yet to go isothermal or homogenous. Overall stability is very good but travel through shallow snowpack areas is punchy and loose. Unconsolidated snow can be found on steep south facing aspects, near rocks and vegetation, or in riparian areas. Loose wet avalanche activity has declined from a lack of direct sunlight.

Photos & Video
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