Avalanche: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot / Nosebleed

Route & General Observations

Took a spin up Microdot to see how the recent snow has been holding up and how it might be reacting on some of the firm crusts currently found on southerly aspects. Mostly easy travel except for some difficult skinning on the upper SW facing shoulder of Microdot where things got somewhat slick. Overall conditions were favorable minus some periods of challenging light.

South facing was crusty underneath but on more proper southerly aspects this layer was firm, smooth, and supportable enough to make turns on. North facing was much softer underneath but all aspects were observed to be taking on heat due to high humidity, greenhousing, mild temps, and periods of sunbreaks.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Wet Loose SnowAspect South
Elevation 4500ftSlope Angle 35deg
Crown Depth 5inWidth 45ft
Vertical Run 500ft  
Avalanche Details

One of our party took a quick lap on the south aspect to inspect conditions and reactivity of the new snow. The underlying firm surface was supportable enough to provide smooth skiing but the new snow was warm and easily got moving on the firm crust underneath while skiing over a steeper rollover. Slow to get moving, the debris ran a few hundred feet before stopping in the upper part of the runout zone. No dogs were involved and the skier responsible owes a few ciders.

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

A number of loose dry/wet activity observed throughout the day, both natural and skier triggered. The biggest red flag we observed was the warming of surface snow due to mild temps, periods of sun, and some green housing going on with the high clouds. High humidity seemed to encourage this process with periods of foggy, convective clouds obscuring visibility.

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

The crack of noon crew got a casual start today. By the time we were heading up conditions were warm and muggy, with temps in the mid and upper 20's and humidity right around 95%. Winds were relatively calm and although visibility started out good the low clouds and fog increased throughout the day.

Snow surface

About 5’’ HN evenly distributed with no observed wind effect. New snow was damp and reactive on underlying firm sun crusts found on southerly aspects.


The snowpack continues to be drastically different on sunny versus shady aspects. A pit dug around 4500’ south facing had a HS of 175cm with numerous crusts, translucent ice, percolation columns, and a lot of moist snow. A pit dug at a similar elevation on a north facing slope showed a mostly homogeneous snowpack with few crusts but still signs of warming and moisture. While facet crust combos on the south and pockets of lingering wind slabs and graupel on the north continue to be on our radar for instability, the recent snow and loose activity was the biggest concern for the day.

Photos & Video
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