Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Marmot West Face

Route & General Observations

Standard up track on Marmot SW Buttress aka Marmot ‘Butt. Beautiful fast powder skiing. Scrappy skinning conditions, excellent booting conditions. Decent canine conditions. Few signs of instability on our chosen route. Known persistent slab problem shaped our strategic mindset on this tour.

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)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Localized whumphing on skin track in isolated areas (potentially around facet gardens associated with alders in lower elevations). Widespread natural avalanches observed from the 2/8 to very early morning of 2/10 avalanche cycle on all aspects at mid to upper elevations, with a few large avalanches near the lower elevations.

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

Marmot Weather Station 4500 feet. 2/16/2020

1400 11.1F E wind @ 4mph gusting to 8mph
1600 12.3F ESE @ 6mph gusting to 8mph

February sun shining bright. Bluebird. Light airs.

Snow surface

Settled powder on a variety of Hatcher Pass Experience Crusts/WindSlab. Settled powder (2-4 inches) from mini storm on 2/12-13. Overall ski quality high in relatively protected areas. Fast pow. 2-4in of snow available for transport in protected areas, no obvious surface hoar formation. Decomposing stellars on surface could become weak layer in next storm system.


We did not perform any formal or informal stability tests. Ski cutting on upper elevation windslabs revealed no failures (although this method is not ideal for testing persistent hard slabs).

Photos & Video
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