HATCHER PASS — Professionals with the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center reported their observations after retracing the steps of a 17-year-old snowboarder who died in an avalanche on Monday.
Professional forecasters and personnel with the Alaska Avalanche School believe that the avalanche that occurred at 12:30 p.m. on Monday occurred when the victim strayed off the intended route and triggered an avalanche with a crown of nearly three feet deep. The avalanche was triggered on a 100 foot tall slope with an angle of 36 degrees after the snow funneled into a terrain trop above a creek drainage at an elevation of 2,000 feet.
“The avalanche resulted from a storm slab failing on a weak persistent grain faceted layer in the snowpack,” reads the observation oh hpavalanche.org.
Prior to the deadly avalanche, Hatcher Pass received approximately three feet of snow over the span of two days. The rapid overload of snow raised the avalanche danger to considerable last weekend. After the avalanche was triggered at 12:30 p.m., emergency personnel responded to search for the missing snowboarder after 4 p.m., who was then transported to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and declared deceased. The death is the third avalanche related death in Alaska this year.