Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: West side of Bullion Mountain- Avalanche

Route & General Observations

A large avalanche was triggered by a snowmachiner sidehilling mid slope on a west aspect. Despite this aspect being stable all day, an (estimated) 3ft slab broke from about 300′ above the rider, directly under the rocks at the top of the slope. The snowmachiner saw this happen and tried to outrun the snow to safety, but was engulfed and fully buried. Rescuer #1 was watching from a safe zone, but lost sight of the snowmachiner as he tried to outrun the snow. After the avalanche stopped, rescuer #1 rode down the avalanche path to the area assessed to contain the victim. The initial beacon measurement was 22. Rescuer #1 began moving in the direction indicated. She found the lowest reading and was about to pull out her probe when she saw the victim stick his hand out of the snow. He was mostly able to clear his airway, and she uncovered the rest of his helmet. At this time, rescuer #2 arrived from a separate party who had witnessed the Avalanche. He assisted in further uncovering and pulling the victim out of the snow. The victim was unhurt and buried somewhat shallow considering the depth of the debris was estimated between 15-20 ft, and the fact that he was tumbled many times prior to coming to a stop. Rescuer #3 arrived around this time from the same party to assist in digging out the snow machine. As the digging continued, a helicopter came by to ascertain if anyone was hurt. Another snowmachining party also showed up to make sure everyone was okay. We are extremely thankful for the response and assistance from everyone in the area who came to investigate and insured the safe recovery of the avalanche victim.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SnowmachinerRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect West
Elevation 4300ftSlope Angle 43deg
Crown Depth3ftWidth 250ft
Vertical Rununknown  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried? 1Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
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

After we rode out for the day, we noticed that another slide had happened on an identical aspect in a nearby bowl. It was not as big.

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

5 degrees, blue skies, light breeze in places, and a foot of new snow in the area.

Snow surface

Settled powder


Stable all day. Over 3m deep in the area. Informal stability tests yielded no instability.

Photos & Video
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