|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.
There were two confirmed human triggered avalanches on Jan 27th. Some small wet loose avalanches were observed on Jan 31st, these likely occurred on Jan 29th or 30th.
Human-triggered avalanches are unlikely but still possible in isolated areas and in extreme terrain.
Here’s a quick recap of last week’s weather. A storm on 1/23 brought about 8” of snow and 1.4 inches of water, on 1/25 a second storm brought 0.4” of water and 2-3” of snow.
On Friday January 27th there was good visibility and warm weather, which brought lots of users to Hatcher Pass. Two separate avalanches were triggered, see recent avalanches above for more info.
Over the weekend warm wet weather brought some rain and warm temperatures up to 36ºF at Independence Mine. On the night of Jan 29th, an additional 3” of snow fell at Hatcher Pass with minimal wind.
There are several factors that are allowing stability in the snowpack to improve. Incremental loading from previous weather events has not caused significant stress on any buried weak layers. The weak faceted layers that have been buried are continuing to round due to the warm temperatures over the last week. We have not observed any propagation in our snowpits, which is another indicator that stability is improving. There have been no human-triggered avalanches for 6 days.
The sidewall below shows the lack of propagation and increasing stability of the snowpack.
Moving forward we will need a significant warming, wind, or snow event to reactivate any of the weak layers buried deeper in the snowpack
The riding quality in Hatcher Pass has improved dramatically since the January drought. Rocks, old sastrugi, and other hazards a still waiting below the surface.
We recommend traveling with partners and carrying appropriate rescue equipment.
Independence Mine 1/28-2/1
Frostbite Bottom 1/28-2/1
NWS AVG Forecast here.
NWS point forecast here.
Marmot Weather Station here.
Independence Mine Snotel here.
Frostbite Bottom Snotel here.
State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.
XC trail grooming report for Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kenai here.