Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Eldorado Bowl

Route & General Observations

Alaska Pacific University Snow Science 1 students seeking out the drier snow grains. Groups toured to Hatcher Pass proper and Eldorado Bowl.

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

We did not observe obvious signs of instability. Recent wet loose roller balls observed on south aspects.

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

Nicer than expected weather till the late afternoon. Sky cover was variable from broken to overcast, until visibility went down the drain by 3:30pm. Temperatures hovered just below freezing throughout the day. Light wind from north. Sporadic flurries of light snow mixed in with rimed particles, snow accumulation ~ 1 cm.

Snow surface

Pesky 2-4cm melt freeze crust on lower elevations and on east/south aspects making the ski conditions less than ideal. At upper elevations on north aspects surface was mosaic of soft new snow and sastrugi.
Numerous debris piles and bed surfaces from the last weekend's avalanche cycle made the surface conditions variable.


We dug a snow pit at the Eldorado/Skyscraper ridge line at 4300' on N aspect on 32 deg slope right below the cornice to assess stability before skiing into the bowl. HS 165cm. Our main concern was 8cm layer of rounding facets 45 cm from the surface. Test results showed moderate strength, but high propagation potential and very poor structure.( ECTP13SP, CT12SP, Five lemons on layer of concern). We did not ski in to the bowl and skied back the normal up track.

Photos & Video
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