Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Microdot shoulder

Route & General Observations

Toured up the sledding hill and across to the Microdot shoulder. Big whumphing on the sledding hill slope, variable snow conditions on the bench: Soft pow, supportable windboard, breakable crust, sea of facets all within a few dozen feet of each other. Quite a few slopes would start with deep soft snow, then halfway up transition to a few inches of soft snow over a wind slab, then transition back to deep soft snow at the top. Great day to stay low angle!

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

High clouds but the angle of the sun was so low we still got some sunshine! Temps in the high 20's and calm wind.

Snow surface

Variable conditions, but in most areas at least a light dusting of good pow - up to knee deep in good spots. Some ice pellets/graupel sitting on the surface at higher elevations.


Dug a pit at 4200 ft, north aspect, relatively low angle (maybe 20?).

Snow depth 85cm. Most of the top half was sugary snow, the middle portion of which had consolidated into a slab about 6" thick; this was sitting on top of a crust sandwich, with more sugar below all the way to the ground.

CT28 at basal facets; ECTX. When shovel shearing out the extended column it broke immediately underneath the rain crust.

The slab was not particularly hard and would crumble on contact, but was just cohesive enough to stick together under shovel shear. This might explain why it didn't propagate?

Photos & Video
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