HATCHER PASS — Low snowfall in Hatcher Pass has depleted the avalanche danger. The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center lists the avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass at moderate for upper elevations and low at low to mid elevations of Hatcher Pass. In an observation submitted by HPAC forecasters Jed Workman and Allie Barker, they assume that low avalanche danger and no recent human-triggered avalanches are due to poor snow conditions.
“Where boulders normally have decent coverage allowing for skiing over the tops of them, this is not possible now. Southerly aspects at upper elevations were raw, showing so much rock in some places (due to wind scouring this season) that they appear un-skiable right now,” reads the observation from Barker and Workman on the HPAC website. “Overall impression is that the snow quality and coverage does not justify the risk of either smashing into rocks, or for potentially triggering a persistent slab, or both. Our adjustment to run selection has been and continues to be moderate slope angles, gentle runouts lacking terrain traps, and finding slopes that appear to have the best coverage on the northerly side of the compass, and avoiding southerly, steep and rocky slopes, with shallower coverage, at the upper elevations.”
Barker and Workman noted two small natural wind slab avalanches on the shoulder of the south ridge of Marmot in Hatcher Pass that likely occurred on January 6 or 7.
“No other avalanches have been observed or reported this week. We hypothesize this is partially due to the reduced number of backcountry users at HP because of poor riding conditions.”
Avalanche forecasts expire 24 hours after they are posted. Hatcher Pass is likely to receive snowfall on both Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in possible change in conditions for the weekend. More information on Hatcher Pass avalanche conditions can be found at https://hpavalanche.org/forecast/hatcherpass/