|Sun, January 14th, 2024
|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
A few small loose dry avalanches (sluffs) were observed on Thursday and Friday.
No slab avalanches have been reported or observed since 1/7.
Considering the lack of recent avalanches this week, lets enjoy conditions photos instead!
Another quiet day in the mountains will keep the avalanche danger at LOW. We have endured a long stretch of low precipitation and low danger for over two weeks at Hatcher Pass which is highly unusual for this time of year.
Snow surfaces are a mix of soft and powdery (faceted) snow with variable thickness firm buried layers. Cold temperatures over the last couple weeks have assisted the snowpack in “faceting out” by degrading old wind slabs which has improved the quality of riding and stability in many locations. Most ridgelines remain scoured, thin, and rocky. The potential to hit rocks has reemerged especially on shallower windward and southerly aspects.
The saying, “low danger does not mean no danger” might sound like a broken record and it’ a good reminder to maintain good travel habits. Watch for any red flags like cracking and collapsing and use safe travel protocol including only exposing one person at a time, having escape routes planned, spotting our partners and using safe zones appropriately.
Sluffs this week have consistently been small and manageable. No slab avalanches have been observed or reported since 1/7. Although triggering an avalanche is unlikely today, keep in mind that it is possible to trigger a lingering wind slab in steeper terrain, small dry loose avalanches on steep slopes, or cornice fall which are all normal mountain hazards that continue to require some attention to identify and avoid.
A weather shift is in the horizon with 1-2″ of snow expected today and 4-6″ Saturday evening through Sunday.