Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Hatch Peak

Route & General Observations

Our group of three skied 3 laps on various aspects of Hatch Peak.
In generally we found boot+ deep cold dry powder on top of the old snowpack of aging crusts and facets, which haven’t been active for awhile. The new snow showed no signs of wind effect and was not active in the morning, but some ridge top winds changed that by the afternoon.
Sluffs were small and short on our first 2 runs under clear sunny skies : SE aspect on the “Sunny side”, and an E aspect in the bowl south of Hatch Peak.

At the top each lap there were 10-15mph winds from the SE and it was building a thin wind layer on top of the snowpack on the ridgeline and we could see some wind transport to N-NW slopes. Our last run was a N aspect towards Summit Lake (7 Chutes?). We assumed that the top of the line would be wind loaded and likely to slide when we entered it. It did. The first few turns cleared out a new soft slab several inches thick and entrained more sluff as it ran. What we couldn’t see in the thick clouds was that further down the chute the slide grew significantly. It ran over 700 vert ft and might have been a D2. The avy debris fortunately gave just enough texture to be able to feel our way down the line in the clouds.