Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Fairangel

Route & General Observations

We snowmachined up Archangel Valley to assess the snowpack at all elevations and aspects, look at old avalanches, and try to find decent snow. We left snowmachines in the valley and toured up Fairangel Valley.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

Wind slabs were not reactive on our tour.
Faceting rounds within a foot of the surface (under crusts) are bonding well to thicker old wind slabs in this location. Thin wind slabs are small and stubborn. We did not find nearly the amount of faceting we expected after a week of temps in the teens (0degF to 20degF). The faceting process is taking longer after the rapid warm up early last week.

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Observer Comments

No cracking or collapsing, no recent avalanches since March 8th.
We saw lots of old wet loose sluffs and thin slabs.

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

No new snow since 2/28.
Winds gusted E 22-27 mph for 5 hours early morning at 4500'.
Light winds in the morning which calmed down as the day went on.
Some high clouds but not enough to make the light bad.
Temps were fairly mild (15 degrees at 4500 feet).

Snow surface

Snow surface is highly variable. This isn't a secret at this point but steep southerly are awful. Anything that had significant sun exposure during the big warm up last week has breakable crust. (Generally SE-SW) The northerlies we observed had very variable wind effect and required jump turns for 1/2 the descent. There is everything from some textured faceting snow that skis well, to breakable crust, to fully supportable wind board. The boot pen in the soft snow is about 25cms.


We dug a pit on an easterly slope- there were lots of layers but the only pit results were on the top 3 cms of snow (wind slab) that failed on isolation in our ECT, otherwise we did not have any test results in our pit. The couple of layers of interest would be the faceting rounds just below the wind slab on the surface and that the faceting rounds at 80-85 cm are moist. See snow pilot photo for all the layers.
We also dug a pit on a southerly slope to assess how moist the snow was mid pack. I dug a pit on Saturday on a southerly at 2500 feet in which the snowpack was moist from below the (4 inch) supportable crust down about 50cms. In our pit today at a similar elevation and aspect on Marmot the snow was generally dry. This south aspect had a supportable to breakable crust on low angle slopes.

Photos & Video
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