Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center

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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Thu, March 16th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Fri, March 17th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Allie Barker
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

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

Natural and human triggered avalanches will be unlikely.

A remote possibility exists for triggering a persistent slab in isolated areas or extreme terrain.

Variable snow surfaces will be found in most locations. Consider yourself lucky if you find a low density powder stash; we are still looking for it.

Winds are forecasted to increase Friday morning.

Be sure to maintain safe travel protocols, including only exposing one person at a time to steep terrain, watching your partners from safe zones, and always traveling with a beacon, shovel, and probe.

Thu, March 16th, 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

We have not observed any recent avalanches since March 8th. Below are some photos from that cycle from Archangel Valley and Reed Lakes.

For more photos visit the observations page and previous forecasts.

3.7-8 Archangel Valley SW 4500′ Wet Loose and shallow slab avalanches


3/7-8 Wet loose cycle up Archangel Valley S to W aspects, 4500′


3.7-8 Reed Lakes, natural large wet loose SE 4400′




Recent Conditions

Large cornices exist on many leeward aspect upper elevation ridgelines and can be unpredictable.

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

Low hazard does not mean no hazard.  We expect there to be isolated locations and extreme terrain where human triggering a persistent slab may still be possible. These locations are becoming harder to find.

The most likely location to trigger a persistent slab, 2-8″ thick, will be on Westerly aspects, near ridgelines and cross-loaded features where the slab is sitting on a buried crust.  This set up exists where sun crusts formed weeks ago on steep slopes and then were buried by slabs formed by the wind. Our observations this week show minimal propagation on these buried crusts.

To identity these areas, look for hard snow sitting over weaker snow, smooth and rounded or lens shaped features.

Pole tests, hand shears, and instability tests like the ECT will give you some information on the propagation potential for this problem.

Few people have been getting out in the backcountry this week, likely due to the variability of the snow. Conditions include patchy faceted surfaces to breakable and firm old wind slabs and sun crusts in many locations.

This crust was found at 4200′ on a low slope angle in a semi-protected location.

Wind Slabs

Winds gusted briefly SE 25 mph at 4500′ at 6am this morning. If winds continue today, expect thin wind slabs to begin to form on West to North aspects at upper elevation. These slabs will be small in size due to the minimal amount of snow available for transport on southerly aspects. This problem will become more of a concern on Friday with stronger winds in the forecast.


Cornices are large at upper elevation ridgelines. Give cornices a wide berth as they can break further back than anticipated.


Thu, March 16th, 2023

HP has not received any precipitation since 2/28.

This graph shows wind gusts over the past week on Marmot at 4500′.

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.

Recent Observations for Hatcher Pass