Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: April Bowl / Upper Willow Creek

Route & General Observations

Snowmachined up to Hatcher Pass, “toured” (walked) up Bennet’s Ridge, circled around the ridge of April Bowl from east to west, poked around in the snow on the N aspect a bit, skied N aspect back to snowmachine. Snowmachined around Upper Willow Creek to have a look around.

Any snow available for transport on windward ridgelines is now gone. Elsewhere there are wind crusts that range from nightmare skiing breakable to slide for life boot supportable. Where good skiing was found a few days ago in April Bowl, there are now anti-tracks or breakable crust. Areas in the upper IM Bowl (Gold Cord Lake, Rock Garden, etc.) appear to be significantly more sheltered and maybe still have decent skiing.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Recent natural avalanche on west aspect of ridgeline between Skyscraper and Granite Mtns. Appears to be wind slab, D1.5.
Recent natural avalanche on east aspect in cross-loaded gully directly north of Martin Gully. Wind slab, D1.
Possible recent natural avalanche on north aspect of the next peak north of Gov't Peak. Persistent slab, D2.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

Few clouds, wind SE light gusting to moderate. Temps in the upper 20's.

Snow surface

Snow surface ranged from gravel and rocks to "oh no"-breakable wind crust to slide for life boot supportable wind slab. Ridgelines are stripped down to basal facets or bare ground. Surprisingly wind affected at lower elevations in Upper Willow Creek. Many snowmachine tracks are now either erased or anti-tracks in Upper Willow Creek.


Dug two test pits on N aspect in April Bowl to see how thick the new wind slabs were, what they're sitting on, and how well they're bonding.

Pit 1: NNE aspect, ~30 degree slope. HS = 220 cm. TD = 60 cm. CTVSP, CT2SP, ECTPV down 20 cm, P+ wind slab over 3mm decomposing stellars and 1mm broken stellars over (seriously) impenetrable wind slab.

Pit 2: NNW aspect, 23 degree slope. HS = 180-200 cm. TD=60 cm. CT12SP and ECTP12 down 20 cm, P+ wind slab over 3mm decomposing stellars and 1mm broken stellars over 1F+ wind packed facets. CT23SP down 48 cm, near surface facets on P+ wind slab.

Photos & Video
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