Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Stairstep to Punkspines

Route & General Observations

Took advantage of an alder tour for visibility to assess snow surfaces in flat light conditions. We toured up Stairstep to the Punkspines and found extremely variable conditions on all aspects although no signs of instability. Low clouds combined with a light wind kept snow surfaces cool, crusts frozen, and skiing better than average but worse than ideal.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No cracking, collapsing, or recent avalanches observed today.

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

We experienced a brief and unremarkable duration snowfall with less than one inch of accumulation today that consisted mostly of graupel falling from the sky and our hopes of 3" of snow quickly shattered.
Light winds during our tour kept snow surfaces cool and crust skiing challenging.
Temps ranged from 35* at 2700' during the beginning of our tour, to 30*F at 3550' and 25* at 4500'. The weather felt humid with the low clouds but cold enough for multiple layers at ridgetop before descending.

Snow surface

Snow surfaces were quite variable today and ranged from firm supportable sun crust at low elevation on southerly aspects to wind skins 1-2" thick at mid elevation, to isolated pockets of faceted powder in protected northerly aspects at upper elevation. The best way to find the most quality snow is to use your compass and micro-manage terrain. The snowpack feels and looks like mid-April to beginning of May even though its March.


no formal pits were dug today
hand pits and pole tests showed no instability

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.