This advisory expires in 24 hours
Moderate avalanche hazard on northerly aspects above 35 degrees at all elevations for loose-dry avalanches . Moderate hazard for wet-loose avalanches on southerly aspects at mid (2500-3500′) and low (below 2500′) elevation in the afternoon.
Likelihood of avalanches: Human triggered avalanches possible, natural avalanches unlikely.
Avalanche size and distribution: Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
Travel advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Low hazard at all other aspects and elevations. Low hazard does not mean no hazard. Likelihood of avalanches: Natural and human triggered avalanches unlikely.
Avalanche size and distribution: Small avalanches in isolated areas, or extreme terrain.
Travel advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
You may have noticed that the persistent slab problem is missing from this forecast. This does not mean it is non-existent. The stout melt-freeze crust from early January is currently holding the snowpack together and preventing failure in deeper weaker layers. Depth hoar exists in the top 1-2 feet of the snowpack in thinner zones, under the upper melt-freeze crust on north aspects. This could be a problem in the future.
RECENT ACTIVITY and CONDITIONS
Hatcher Pass received 16″ of new snow on 3/4 and 3/5. The new snow was accompanied by temperatures in the teens and little wind with low-moderate gusts. The storm blanketed the crust covered mountains, giving us a much needed storm after a two month dry spell.
Since 3/4 and 3/5, temperatures have been steady in the teens and low twenties. A variety of conditions exist from light powder on crust to sun affected south aspects.
AVALANCHE CONCERN #1
Several loose-dry avalanches ran naturally during and after the abrupt dump on 3/4 and 3/5. Most of these avalanches occurred on north, northwest, and northeast aspects on slopes greater than 35 degrees. These “sluffs” are small in size, although in the wrong place at the wrong time, could be large enough to stuff you in a gully, throw you over a cliff, or injure you. New loose snow is sitting on the burly Jan. melt-freeze crust and some old wind slab in specific locations. This stout crust is easily felt underfoot, and will act as a good sliding layer in steep terrain. The likelihood of triggering a loose-dry avalanche is possible on northerly aspects above 35 degrees.
Terrain management is a must in these conditions. Skiing one at a time, using safe zones, and knowing how to manage sluff are important. Click here for more info on techniques to manage risk.
AVALANCHE CONCERN #2
Human triggered Wet-Loose avalanches are possible to trigger at mid and low elevations in the afternoon on southerly aspects. The hazard will increase with strong solar radiation and rising temperatures in the afternoon. Loose snow sitting on top of weak facets will allow for fast running wet-loose avalanches. If temps stay cool, the south aspects will stay frozen, and not pose as much of a hazard. Avoid southerly aspects in the afternoon if temperatures rise above freezing.
Click here for tips on how to manage wet-loose avalanches.
The weather pattern will continue to bring clear and cool to slightly warmer temps through the weekend with low to moderate winds. Clouds could start to build by Sunday/Monday. Early next week predictions look like a potential low coming out of the Gulf from the southwest with increasing temperatures and precipitation through the week.
If you are out and about HP and see an avalanche or have a snow observation, please share it with us by clicking on these links or under the observations tab in the menu bar or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to hear from you!