Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Two Lakes Valley

Route & General Observations

Split-toured from Goldmint Lot to Two Lakes Valley to assess snowpack structure and recent avalanche activity. On north aspects the snow is soft, dry and deep; while south aspects it was sticky, melting, and shallow. Saw remnants of numerous post storm, small and long-running loose avalanches in steep terrain on all aspects; especially on southern sun-exposed slopes.

Avalanche Details
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Avalanche Details

Natural loose dry avalanche that stepped into an older slab of soft snow below the ridgeline. Wind-loading may have played a factor in the build-up of the slab due to its leeward location on the slope. This took place at 4100 feet on a west/northwest aspect on a 42 degrees slope. The crown was ~18 inches thick while the avalanche was 50 feet wide by 200 feet long.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

A slight increase in loose avalanche activity on steep southern aspects in the mid and upper elevations.

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

Scattered to broken clouds with abundant sunshine for most of the tour. A light breeze from the southeast was noticed. Some gusting winds above our location that were moving small amounts of snow from southeast to northwest. It stayed below freezing until I reached the parking lot.

Snow surface

Southern aspects were moistening from the sun and becoming sticky. Light sporadic winds kept some exposed surfaces drier. Northern aspects were dry and cold. Minor wind affect near the tops of ridges was observed.


I initially dug on a northeast aspect at 3200 feet where the height of snow was 290cm. A slight wind affect gave texture to the snow but overall the snow from the last two storms felt evenly distributed. Below the Easter storm ending 3/31 a thin layer of facets had formed 55cm down, and was reactive when moderate forces were applied CT22 SC; ECTP18, and PST 40/100 End. Illustration entitled Two Lakes Valley.
Later I dug on a south/southeast portion of a slope at 2500 feet where the snow height was 90cm. Sun was warming the top 4 inches on snow creating moist clustered grains. A pencil hard melt-freeze crust, 15cm below the surface had weak facetted grains below. These small facets were stubborn to react in stability tests but would eventually fail with hard forces; CT20 SC, CT23 BRK, CT14 BRK, ECTN22. This snowpack was shallower and moister with rounding facets and depth hoar lower in the pack. Illustration entitled Decision Point.

Photos & Video
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