Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Stairstep

Route & General Observations

Jostled for a parking spot at the bottom of the road run. Ascended Stairstep to 3900′. River crossing was easy thanks to skin track pioneer and HPAC Advisory Board member extraordinaire Andy Dennis.

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

Localized cracking in thin wind slabs.

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

Moderate SE wind transporting snow all day above 2500'. Temperature around 20 degrees F.

Snow surface

Snow surface varied between boot top settled powder to breakable wind crust. Early season conditions exist below 2500', with exposed vegetation poised and waiting to catch a ski tip. Surface hoar in sheltered areas below 3000'.


Below 3500' the snowpack is mostly settled powder sitting on a mass of basal ice. On N to NW aspects a breakable wind crust or supportable wind slab can be found sitting on buried near surface facets. First noticed the slab at 2800'.

Dug at two elevations:

Pit 1: N Aspect, 32 degrees, HS=75
ECTPV, ECTN4 on 10 cm wind slab
ECTP25 x 2 down 40 cm on 3mm chained facets above MF crust below 1F wind slab

Pit 2: N Aspect, 28 degrees, HS = 65
ECTP24 & ECTP26 down 53 on 2.5 mm chained facets below MF crust
CT12SC on basal 3mm basal facets at ground

Pit 1: NW Aspect, 18 degrees, HS = 110 cm
ECTPV down 5 cm on wind slab
ECTP24 down 65 on 1.5 mm facets above MF crust

Pit 2: NW Aspect, 19 degrees, HS=73 cm
CT26SC & ECTP13 down 40 cm on 2mm facets between rain crust and MF crust

Pit 3: NW Aspect, 17 degrees, HS=60 cm
ECTN3, ECTN13, CT16SC down 30 cm on 2mm facets above MF crust

Photos & Video
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