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Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Womens Run

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Fishhook Lot to x4068 to Women’s Run. Descended and ascended Women’s Run, descended Women’s Run to SE to Sheetawk. Quick ride over to Willow side for conditions check.

Limited cracking, no whumphiong, no avalanches.

Uptrack on N of x4068 @2800′ 60 cm of 4f faceted snowpack. Old avalanche from New Years wind event on East ridge of x4068, hard slab blocks on slope, large propagation.

Whimpy’s @3200′ sastrugi and wind scalloping, form surfaces with wind deposits of 1-5″ of soft snow, localized cracking under foot.

Whimpy’s ridgeline to Women’s Run, leeward, North aspects, small new wind slab development from recent winds, shallow, 1-4″ thick, stubborn to reactive, very small in size. Windward aspects along ridgeline scoured to old melf freeze crust. Lots of sastrugi, wind texture amd firm surfaces.

Women’s Run, first 1/3 of slope firm from recent wind loading, blown in soft snow bottom 2/3 of slope.

Women’s Run to Skeetawk, 60cm max of faceted snowpack, bushes protruding, no slab.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Localized cracking under foot on very small new wind slabs on leeward aspects, N to E.

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

1130 am -15C and WSW 8kts
1pm Top of Women´s Run -18C and WSW 8-10kts gusting 15kts.
Clear skies.

Snow surface

Sastrugi, form surfaces and wind blown soft snow.
Soft snow on wind protected areas.

Snowpack

Strong strength, poor structure and variable energy.

Our testing indicates a snowpack that may fail with a large load, and then have the potential to propagate at upper elevations. The snowpack is highly variable in depth and in many locations the continuity of the slab is not sufficient for a large slab avalanche to occur. The most likely locations for large continuous slabs to exist are in wind loaded locations, generally upper elevations, on North to West aspects, or on cross loaded features.

A melt freeze crust is stout in some areas, supporting the load of the snowpack over very weak basal facets. In other areas the crust has faceted out and is almost non-existent, with basal facets gaining some strength.

In PST tests, weak basal facets show high energy under the stout MF crust. Faceting above the melt freeze crust show moderate energy. ECTs tend to be strong strength with mixed propagation results above the MF crust, and CTs moderate strength, high energy, SC on facets above the MF crust.

The overall poor structure of the snowpack will likely result in avalanche activity with any significant, rapid loading event.

Photos & Video
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