HATCHER PASS — The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center has been producing two weekly forecasts all winter, and will post their final forecast on April 17. The penultimate forecast posted by HPAC on April 15 lists avalanche danger in Hatcher Pass as moderate at all elevations. The avalanche problems that exist in Hatcher Pass include persistent slabs, wind slabs, and wet-loose avalanches.
“It will be possible to human trigger avalanches, naturals are unlikely. Spring has sprung, finally, and temperatures have significantly increased since Monday and will continue to steadily increase throughout the week. Observations have been focused at low and mid elevation due to the road closure. Variable conditions exist including buried and exposed crusts, wind board, corn, and very moist snow up to 3200′ or higher,” wrote HPAC forecaster Allie Barker.
The HPAC website at https://hpavalanche.org has featured professional and amateur forecasts all winter and also includes observations submitted by backcountry enthusiasts themselves. Observations have been sparse since the April 3 road closure in Hatcher Pass by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. There were three observations submitted on April 10, mostly from lower elevation areas more easily accessible without vehicles.
Wet avalanches are predictable and avoidable. Stay off of and away from these aspects during the heat of the day. Large roller balls are an indicator that it is time to change to a cooler aspect. Avoid skiing or riding above terrain traps which can increase the consequence of any avalanche,” wrote Barker.