|Fri, February 9th, 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.
Mid-storm natural loose dry avalanches were observed this week, mostly small and isolated to terrain steeper than 40°.
Warming rocks released small loose dry avalanches on more southern aspects during the daylight hours on 2/6.
No recent slab avalanches have been observed or reported since January 24.
The snow quality for the majority of Hatcher Pass is in excellent shape. The recent 5 to 6 inches of snow from 2/4 has settled and avalanche activity is decreasing. At this time, it is unlikely that you will trigger a large avalanche capable of burying a person, but not impossible. Small avalanches remain a concern on slopes steeper than 40° that have unconsolidated snow surfaces which could sluff and sweep you off your feet and into unintended terrain.
Numerous small loose dry avalanches occurred during and after the most recent storm in steep terrain. Evidence of these sluffs in isolated pockets of snow can be found in the mid and upper elevations on most aspects. Warming of rocks during the past couple of sunny days has also released some small sluffs on more southerly steep aspects.
There is a noticeable change in the density of the recent snow due to an 8° temperature increase throughout the storm. This warming trend put slightly denser snow on top of dryer snow which fell at the beginning of the storm when temperatures were colder. This up-side-down new snow doesn’t contribute to instability, but does make it harder to keep your tips up and move through mellower terrain.
The most recent storm occurring on 2/3-2/4, left behind an even coating of snow with only minor wind affect near exposed ridges. Two short durations of light to moderate wind on the mornings of 2/4 & 2/7, transported just enough snow to create thin wind slabs on leeward aspects. You can find these thin breakable slabs on west to north aspects which are mostly isolated to ridgelines and cross-loaded terrain features. In these leeward locations you may be able to trigger a stubborn wind slab up to 8 inches thick, but propagation should be underfoot and localized. Refer to our most recent observation from 2/7.
In many locations the snowpack feels bottomless and unconsolidated due to thick layers of faceted snow grains deeper in the snowpack. This is apparent in shallower and more wind protected areas where cold temperatures have changed the physical characteristics of the subsurface snow, making it weaker. This can increase boot penetration and make it harder to get yourself and your snowmachine unstuck, especially where rocks and vegetation are present.