HATCHER PASS — Avalanche danger has increased in Hatcher Pass as snow continues to fall on the slopes. The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center issued a midweek forecast detailing several avalanche problems with the additional snow that is predicted to exceed 10 inches. HPAC staff listed the existing problems as dry loose avalanches and storm slabs, as well as issuing warnings for persistent slabs and wind slabs.
“This storm is forecasted to produce an additional 5-7″ inches of snow by the end of Thursday. Expect avalanche hazards to increase throughout the day as this storm continues. Natural avalanches will be possible as the storm continues throughout the day,” wrote HPAC staff.
No large slab avalanches were observed last week, but there have been several dry loose sluffs that have occurred. HPAC noted strategies to avoid dry loose avalanches.
“We recommend using good sluff management if you decide to step out into steeper terrain. No matter the size, these avalanches can catch, carry and sweep you through hazards, if not managed properly,” wrote HPAC staff.
HPAC Forecaster Allie Barker posted an extended column test or “ECTP” from a pit dug along Hatch Peak. The column failed at an ECTP score of 28 and Barker mentioned five distinct crusts in the snowpack. HPAC provided recommendations for possible storm slabs.
“We recommend using low risk travel techniques, this includes spreading out when traveling uphill or near avalanche terrain. Riding slopes one at a time and stopping and regrouping out of harm’s way. Avoid riding slopes that have terrain traps below. Terrain traps can increase your burial depth. An increased burial depth reduces the chance of a successful rescue,” wrote HPAC staff.
HPAC posts avalanche forecasts two times a week at hpavalanche.org/ and provide reports on snow conditions at road runs in Hatcher Pass on their social media accounts.