Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Tours near Independence Mine Visitor Center

Route & General Observations

Alaska Avalanche School Level 1 with Steller Secondary students explored the best of the Hatcher Pass meager snowpack Dec 13-15, 2016.
NOTE: We did not go above 3,900′ due to poor travel conditions and low coverage.

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

Isolated pockets of old wind slabs produced some whumphing and shooting cracks.
Observed older avalanches (last wind event?) at the upper Eldorado Bowl.

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

Clear, calm, temps 15-20s F.
Little puff of new snow Tuesday night.
New snow started falling at 5pm on Thursday.

Snow surface

Variable from soft unsupportable snow to breakable 2cm wind crust.
At mid elevation (+3,700') up to 10cm windslabs in isolated locations.
Main observation still very thin snowpack.


Shallow early season snowpack. HS varied 25-65cm on our tours.
We found a poor structure in isolated locations where 30 cm of basal facets were topped by up to 25 cm of 1F windslab. Test results were variable, but showed low propagation propensity.

Photos & Video
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