Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center

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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sat, January 14th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Sun, January 15th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Allie Barker
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Stale and generally safe avalanche conditions will continue to persist through the weekend.

The avalanche danger is LOW at all elevations and on all aspects.

We always recommend maintaining good travel protocol even in low danger conditions.

Conditions have improved with 2″ of new snow combined with faceted snow surfaces.

The best riding will be low angle “dust on crust” and locations with softened breakable crust.

Special Announcements

Tickets are on sale now for the Annual HPAC Cabin Fever Reliever Fundraiser highlighting HOPE SOCIAL CLUB! on Feb 4th here. Tickets will sell out! Come celebrate 15 years of avalanche forecasting with us!

Check out the EVENTS page for more information.

Sat, January 14th, 2023
Upper Elevation
Above 3,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Mid Elevation
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Low Elevation
Below 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice 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.
Recent Avalanches

No natural or human-triggered avalanches have been reported or observed since December 23rd.

Because there are no recent avalanche photos, enjoy these photos instead which show current conditions.

1.13.23 Sidney Creek up Archangel Valley


1.13.23 Sidney Creek up Archangel


1.13.23 Looking from Sidney Creek up Reed Lakes Valley and Goodhope Creek.


1.13.23 Up Archangel Valley

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

Triggering any size avalanche will be unlikely today.

It has been a month since Hatcher Pass has received any significant amount of precipitation. Despite this dry spell, conditions have actually improved this week. It seems crazy that we are excited about a minuscule 2″ of new snow this week. We’ll take anything we can get! Temperatures have fluctuated between single digits for several days followed by moderate temps in the teens and twenties. This has assisted the faceting process and softened snow surfaces in many locations. If you want to geek out and learn more about the snow metamorphism click here.

The only layer of concern is the facets at the base of the snowpack. Overall, our tests have shown increased stability over time, more consistent rounding of the individual grains, and little to no propagation in the basal facets. The last avalanche observed was 22 days ago on December 23.

Here is a pit from yesterday showing facets rounding at the base of the pack. 

Firm conditions can still be felt underfoot in many locations but surface conditions are significantly more enjoyable. Low angle terrain or protected locations at low elevation in the trees will be the best riding this weekend.

We always want to use good travel practice, even with low danger. This means having good communication with our partners and using radios, only exposing one person at a time, having planned safe zone, and spotting our partners.

Our confidence is low for any reasonable amount of snow in the forecast this weekend. The low moving in today is not favorable for Hatcher Pass and might bring up to 2″ of new snow.


Sat, January 14th, 2023

Avalanche Weather Guidance

National Weather Service Anchorage AK


DISCUSSION… The first of a series of northwest-moving shortwaves will move into the Kenai Peninsula later this morning, spreading snowfall into the eastern Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound region from south to north as the day progresses. Snow levels should remain well above sea level through tonight into Sunday, however, raw values listed below are likely running approximately 200 to 400 ft higher than what is realistic through Sunday morning and should be used with caution. Periods of snowfall will be possible for the Chugach Front Range and for Hatcher Pass from this evening through Sunday morning, but amounts are expected to be much lighter than areas favored for upslope enhancement with southeasterly flow across the eastern Kenai Peninsula and terrain surrounding Portage Valley. A more pronounced upper trough will lift north from the Gulf on Sunday, resulting in a decrease in precipitation intensity through Sunday evening after the wave passes to the north towards the Copper Basin and Susitna Valley. Forecast uncertainty increases substantially by Monday, with models diverging on the track of a low and front moving into western Gulf. Snow and low elevation rain may pick up intensity on Monday morning across terrain around Prince William Sound and the eastern Kenai Peninsula, depending on how quickly the next lows front is able to move north towards the Gulf coast.

NWS AVG Forecast here.

NWS point forecast here.

Marmot Weather Station here.

Independence Mine Snotel here.

State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.

XC trail grooming report for Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kenai here.

Recent Observations for Hatcher Pass