HATCHER PASS — Despite recent snowfall accumulating on the peaks in Hatcher Pass, the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center listed avalanche danger as low at all elevations. In a recent avalanche forecast posted on hpavalanche.org, HPAC staff warned that thin snow coverage could potentially hide dangerous rocks.
“Thin coverage, the recent new coat of white paint on the mountains is all show! Coverage is lacking, rocks linger just below the surface. The upper elevation steeps need more snow, and the mid elevation band has slightly better coverage. Conditions appear very tempting, but going fast almost ensures either gear damage or worse,” wrote HPAC staff. “At ridgelines in the upper elevations, recent light to moderate gusts have formed extremely small, and barely cohesive slabs, 4-6″ thick, on leeward aspects, Southwest to North. These are possible to human trigger, initially fail like mini-slabs, however, the density of the snow is so low that they quickly transition to loose dry avalanches. These are failing on the same weak layer of older near surface facets.”
Along with providing conditions updates for the popular ‘16 Mile’ road run at Hatcher Pass on Tik Tok and Instagram, HPAC Assistant Avalanche Specialist Jacob Kayes and Marissa Bieger presented on Avalanche safety to students at Palmer High School on Monday.